Judge Dismisses Class-Action Lawsuit Against Makers of Ritalin

California Federal Judge Rules Plaintiff's Complaint is Unclear and Unmerited



Apr 26, 2001, 01:00 ET from Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation

    SAN DIEGO, April 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Novartis Pharmaceuticals
 Corporation, the manufacturer of Ritalin (R) (methylphenidate), learned that
 U.S. District Judge Rudi M. Brewster reaffirmed his earlier ruling to dismiss
 the class action lawsuit claiming the company conspired with the American
 Psychiatric Association (APA) and Children and Adults with Attention-
 Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) to promote the diagnosis of Attention
 Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).  The case was dismissed under
 California's anti-SLAPP statute that provides for dismissal of lawsuits that
 attack defendants for their speech about an issue of public interest.
     "We applaud Judge Brewster's dismissal of the California class action,"
 said Novartis General Counsel, Dorothy Watson. "The plaintiff's claim is
 ludicrous and warrants no consideration.  This ruling supports Novartis'
 position that this lawsuit and others like it are an unmerited attempt to
 promote an agenda that flies in the face of scientific and medical consensus."
     In a March 8 ruling, Judge Brewster dismissed the complaint against
 Novartis and co-defendants and held the plaintiff's complaint was so vague and
 unclear, that it did not even state a legal claim.  Further, Judge Brewster
 also held that if the defects in the complaint were not rectified by the
 parties who brought the lawsuit he would dismiss the case entirely under the
 anti-SLAPP statute. The plaintiff did not make any attempt to correct the
 defects in their complaint, but rather announced their intent to appeal the
 judge's ruling.
     Had the plaintiff issued a new complaint, it would have been the third
 attempt to state a valid claim in this litigation.  Novartis is confident that
 this appeal will be no more successful than the first two complaints.
     The California lawsuits and similar suits filed in Texas, Florida, New
 Jersey and Puerto Rico claimed Novartis had conspired with the APA and CHADD
 to broaden or expand the diagnosis and diagnostic criteria for ADHD.
     Contrary to the position advanced in the lawsuits, ADHD is a real and
 serious disorder.  It is a well-established and valid diagnosis recognized by
 the leading medical authorities in the U.S., including the American Medical
 Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Academy of Pediatrics,
 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Surgeon General.
     Ritalin has helped generations of children and adults and has been shown
 to be an effective and safe medication for more than 45 years.  It has been
 scientifically evaluated in more than 200 studies involving over 6,000 school-
 aged children.
     "Ritalin and similar treatments are among the most widely studied
 therapies available," said Watson. "We are heartened that an overwhelming body
 of scientific evidence cannot just be litigated away by lawyers and anti-
 psychiatry advocates."
     Ritalin is a mild central nervous system stimulant that helps to address
 the neurochemical problems underlying ADHD.
 
     Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation researches, develops, manufactures
 and markets leading innovative prescription drugs used to treat a number of
 diseases and conditions, including central nervous system disorders, organ
 transplantation, cardiovascular diseases, dermatological diseases, respiratory
 disorders, cancer and arthritis.  The company's mission is to improve people's
 lives by pioneering novel healthcare solutions.
 
     Located in East Hanover, New Jersey, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation,
 is an affiliate of Novartis AG, a world leader in Life Sciences with core
 businesses in Healthcare, Agribusiness, and Consumer Health.
 
      Contact:
      Regina Moran
      Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation
      973-781-5567
      regina.moran@pharma.novartis.com
 
      or
 
      Cathy Yarbrough
      973-781-9385
      cathy.yarbrough@pharma.novartis.com
 
                      MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT - Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X83966221
 
 

SOURCE Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation
    SAN DIEGO, April 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Novartis Pharmaceuticals
 Corporation, the manufacturer of Ritalin (R) (methylphenidate), learned that
 U.S. District Judge Rudi M. Brewster reaffirmed his earlier ruling to dismiss
 the class action lawsuit claiming the company conspired with the American
 Psychiatric Association (APA) and Children and Adults with Attention-
 Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) to promote the diagnosis of Attention
 Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).  The case was dismissed under
 California's anti-SLAPP statute that provides for dismissal of lawsuits that
 attack defendants for their speech about an issue of public interest.
     "We applaud Judge Brewster's dismissal of the California class action,"
 said Novartis General Counsel, Dorothy Watson. "The plaintiff's claim is
 ludicrous and warrants no consideration.  This ruling supports Novartis'
 position that this lawsuit and others like it are an unmerited attempt to
 promote an agenda that flies in the face of scientific and medical consensus."
     In a March 8 ruling, Judge Brewster dismissed the complaint against
 Novartis and co-defendants and held the plaintiff's complaint was so vague and
 unclear, that it did not even state a legal claim.  Further, Judge Brewster
 also held that if the defects in the complaint were not rectified by the
 parties who brought the lawsuit he would dismiss the case entirely under the
 anti-SLAPP statute. The plaintiff did not make any attempt to correct the
 defects in their complaint, but rather announced their intent to appeal the
 judge's ruling.
     Had the plaintiff issued a new complaint, it would have been the third
 attempt to state a valid claim in this litigation.  Novartis is confident that
 this appeal will be no more successful than the first two complaints.
     The California lawsuits and similar suits filed in Texas, Florida, New
 Jersey and Puerto Rico claimed Novartis had conspired with the APA and CHADD
 to broaden or expand the diagnosis and diagnostic criteria for ADHD.
     Contrary to the position advanced in the lawsuits, ADHD is a real and
 serious disorder.  It is a well-established and valid diagnosis recognized by
 the leading medical authorities in the U.S., including the American Medical
 Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Academy of Pediatrics,
 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Surgeon General.
     Ritalin has helped generations of children and adults and has been shown
 to be an effective and safe medication for more than 45 years.  It has been
 scientifically evaluated in more than 200 studies involving over 6,000 school-
 aged children.
     "Ritalin and similar treatments are among the most widely studied
 therapies available," said Watson. "We are heartened that an overwhelming body
 of scientific evidence cannot just be litigated away by lawyers and anti-
 psychiatry advocates."
     Ritalin is a mild central nervous system stimulant that helps to address
 the neurochemical problems underlying ADHD.
 
     Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation researches, develops, manufactures
 and markets leading innovative prescription drugs used to treat a number of
 diseases and conditions, including central nervous system disorders, organ
 transplantation, cardiovascular diseases, dermatological diseases, respiratory
 disorders, cancer and arthritis.  The company's mission is to improve people's
 lives by pioneering novel healthcare solutions.
 
     Located in East Hanover, New Jersey, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation,
 is an affiliate of Novartis AG, a world leader in Life Sciences with core
 businesses in Healthcare, Agribusiness, and Consumer Health.
 
      Contact:
      Regina Moran
      Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation
      973-781-5567
      regina.moran@pharma.novartis.com
 
      or
 
      Cathy Yarbrough
      973-781-9385
      cathy.yarbrough@pharma.novartis.com
 
                      MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT - Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X83966221
 
 SOURCE  Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation