Healthy Alternatives for Safety Conscious Products for your Body and Home

Shelley R. Kramer   Contact: 310 457-5176


Return to Epstein's Page

<--Return to Cancer Prevention Coalition Page

 Return to Children's Page

Ritalin Fraud

2002, The law firm of Waters & Kraus takes this opportunity to announce the filing in Texas of a class action lawsuit entitled Hernandez, Plaintiff, Individually and on Behalf of all Others Similarly Situated v. Ciba Geigy Corporation, U.S.A., Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, Children and Adults With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD), and the American Psychiatric Association. Dr. Peter Breggin is serving as a medical consultant in the case.

While this filing is a departure from Waters & Kraus’ continuing practice of toxic exposure and cancer cases, the pattern and practice of improper conduct on the part of the defendants in this case rivals that of the asbestos corporate defendants and tobacco companies in other cases.

The suit states allegations based on fraud and conspiracy. From approximately 1955 through 1995, the exclusive or primary manufacturer and supplier of Ritalin in this country was defendant Ciba-Geigy Corp., U.S.A. ("Ciba"). In 1996 Ciba merged with Sandoz Pharmaceuticals Corp. to become defendant Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. ("Novartis"). Ciba/Novartis has manufactured, marketed and sold Ritalin since approximately 1955.

Ciba/Novartis planned, conspired, and colluded to create, develop and promote the diagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in a highly successful effort to increase the market for its product Ritalin. In addition to its actions and involvement with the creation of the ADD and ADHD diagnosis, Ciba/Novartis took steps to promote and dramatically increase the sales of Ritalin by way of the following:

    1. Actively promoting and supporting the concept that a significant percentage of children suffer from a "disease" which required narcotic treatment/therapy;
    2. Actively promoting Ritalin as the "drug of choice" to treat children diagnosed with ADD and ADHD:
    3. Actively supporting groups such as Defendant CHADD, both financially and with other means, so that such organizations would promote and support (as a supposed neutral party) the ever-increasing implementation of ADD/ADHD diagnoses as well as directly increasing Ritalin sales;
    4. Distributing misleading sales and promotional literature to parents, schools and other interested persons in a successful effort to further increase the number of diagnoses and the number of persons prescribed Ritalin.

Defendant CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) has been a recipient of financial donations and contributions from Defendants Ciba/Novartis for many years. CHADD received $748,000 from Ciba/Novartis in the period 1991 to 1994 alone. During the periods when CHADD received funding from Ciba/Novartis, CHADD deliberately made efforts to increase the sales of Ritalin, and to increase the supply of methylphenidate (the generic name for Ritalin) available in the United States, and to reduce or eliminate laws and restrictions concerning the use of Ritalin and methylphenidate in the United States, all to the financial benefit of Ciba/Novartis. Ciba/Novartis made such financial contributions with the purpose of advertising and promoting sales of Ritalin – an internationally controlled substance. Ciba/Novartis has thus repeatedly violated Article 10 of the United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances, 1019 U.N.T.S. 175 (1971).

CHADD’s activities nationwide have led to significant increase in the amount of Ritalin taken by school children and have directly resulted in enormous profits to Ciba/Novartis.

Parents, the school districts and other interested parties are generally unaware that use of Ritalin can cause a significant number of health problems and risks, including but not limited to the following:


Press Release, 2002
American Academy of Pediatrics Guidelines for Treating Behavioral Disorders
in Children with Ritalin Ignores Evidence of Cancer Risks warns Samuel S.
Epstein, M.D

Based on an industry-funded multi-university trial on 282 pre-teen children
treated with Ritalin for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorders (ADHD),
just published in Pediatrics, the American Academy of Pediatrics has
endorsed the use of the drug. However, the Academy ignores clear evidence
of the drug's cancer risks of which parents, teachers and school nurses,
besides most pediatricians and psychiatrists, still remain uninformed and

Some 40 years after the drug was first marketed by Ciba Geigy,
carcinogenicity tests were conducted at the tax payer's expense by the
National Toxicology Program, the results of which were published in 1995.
Adult mice were fed Ritalin over a two-year period at dosages close to
those prescribed to children. The mice developed a statistically
significant incidence of liver abnormalities and tumors, including highly
aggressive rare cancers known as hepatoblastomas. These findings are
particularly disturbing as the tests were conducted on adult, rather than
young mice which would be expected to be much more sensitive to
carcinogenic effects. The National Toxicology Program concluded that
Ritalin is a "possible human carcinogen," and recommended the need for
further research. While still insisting that the drug is safe, the Food and
Drug Administration admitted that these findings signal "carcinogenic
potential," and required a statement to this effect in the drug's package
insert. However, these inserts are not seen by parents or nurses.

The Physicians' Desk Reference admits evidence on the carcinogenicity of
Ritalin, now manufactured by Novartis, qualified by the statement that "the
significance of these results is unknown," apparently not recognizing that
this is more alarming than reassuring. Apart from cancer risks, there is
also suggestive evidence that Ritalin induces genetic damage in blood cells
of Ritalin-treated children.
Concerns on Ritalin's cancer risk are more acute in view of the millions of
children treated annually with the drug and the escalating incidence of
childhood cancer, by some 35% over the last few decades, quite apart from
delayed risks of cancer in adult life. These risks are compounded by the
availability of alternative safe and effective procedures, notably behavior
modification and biofeedback.

There is no justification for prescribing Ritalin, even by highly qualified
pediatricians and psychiatrists, unless parents have been explicitly
informed of the drug's cancer risks. Otherwise, prescribing Ritalin
constitutes unarguable medical malpractice.



  1. Rapid heart beat (palpitations, tachycardia)
  2. High blood pressure (hypertension)
  3. Unusual heart rhythm (arrythmia)
  4. Heart attack (cardiac arrest)

Central Nervous System

  1. Altered mental status (psychosis)
  2. Hallucinations
  3. Depression or excitement
  4. Convulsions / seizures (excessive brain stimulation)
  5. Drowsiness or "dopey" feeling
  6. Confusion
  7. Lack of sleep (insomnia)
  8. Agitation, irritation, anxiety, nervousness
  9. Hostility
  10. Unhappiness (Dysphoria)
  11. Impaired mental abilities (cognitive impairment on tests)
  12. Jerky movements (Dyskinesias, tics, Tourette's syndrome)
  13. Nervous habits (such as picking at skin or pulling hair)
  14. Compulsive behavior
  15. Depression/over-sensitivity
  16. Decreased social interest
  17. Zombie-like behavior


  1. Eating disorders (anorexia)
  2. Nausea
  3. Vomiting
  4. Stomach ache / cramps
  5. Dry mouth
  6. Constipation
  7. Abnormal liver function tests


  1. Growth problems (pituitary dysfunction)
  2. Weight loss


  1. Blurred vision
  2. Headache
  3. Dizziness
  4. Rash/conjunctivitis/hives
  5. Hair loss
  6. Inflammation of the skin (dermatitis)
  7. Blood disorders (anorexia, leukoplacia)
  8. Involuntary discharge of urine (enuresis)
  9. Fever
  10. Joint pain
  11. Unusual sweating

Withdrawal and Rebound

  1. Sleep problems (insomnia)
  2. Evening crash
  3. Depression
  4. Over-activity and irritability
  5. Worsening of ADHD-like symptoms

 In addition, it is not generally known or understood by the public that use of Ritalin will preclude a child from ever joining the United States military because Ritalin is classified as a Class II controlled substance, along with morphine and other amphetamines.

top of page

Copyright © Telephone: 310-457-5176

For General Information:

Webmaster for Shelley R. Kramer