ADHD and “The Merchants of Speed”


Pediatrician and UCSF professor Lawrence Diller has issued the fourth of a four-part memoir on Huffington Post, recounting the rise of ADHD medicating and his experiences interacting with drug company representatives. “Leading experts who once promoted the ADHD diagnosis and stimulant treatment have reacted with alarm to the latest trends,” writes Diller. “But the proverbial genie is out of the bottle. Created and promoted by the drug industry, it is now running amok amongst American children, parents, and teachers.”

Diller describes an American Psychiatric Association conference: “This massive space was packed wall to wall. Some exhibitors’ displays were modest — a desk in the front, a few posters attached to a curtained backdrop — but many were gigantic: quarter-acre, 30-foot-high assemblies with neon signs and attractive women. Indeed, one had young women in bikinis handing out medical education literature and ‘gifts,’ all kinds of chotchkies: mugs, notepads, pens, binders, helium balloons, cloth shopping bags, backpacks. I saw doctors walking around laden with this stuff. It felt more like a Middle Eastern bazaar than a doctors’ convention.”

Witness to Corruption: The Merchants of Speed or the Modern-Day ADHD Medicine Show(Lawrence Diller on Huffington Post, August 19, 2014)