Lie Detectors Used to Weed Out ADHD Fraud

by Christopher Freeburn | November 25, 2013 11:03 am

Prescription pills bottle[1]
Source: Flickr[2]
People claiming to have attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are facing a new level of scrutiny when trying to get medication to treat their symptoms[3].

In order to combat rising numbers of people faking ADHD in order to obtain the drugs used to mitigate its effects, physicians are turning to a device more commonly associated with police and spy agencies: the lie detector, Bloomberg notes.

Doctors have traditionally diagnosed ADHD by conducting interviews with patients. The subjectivity induced by such diagnostic techniques is blamed for the wide variation seen in geographical diagnoses of the condition.

In recent years, increasing misuse of the drugs used to treat ADHD — especially Novartis’ (NVS[4]) Ritalin and Shire’s (SHPG[5]) Adderall — has prompted health care experts to seek a more reliable way to determine which patients actually have ADHD and which are just looking for drugs. ADHD-related drugs generated $8.97 billion in sales last year.

Lie detectors like Pearson’s (PSO[6]) Quotient compares the answers and physical reactions of patients under questioning against data from actual ADHD sufferers. The company says the machine has a 92% success rate when detecting fakers.

At least 300 doctors across the U.S. are using the machine to prevent patients faking ADHD symptoms from illicitly obtaining medications. With more colleges dispensing ADHD drugs, use of the lie detector machines to screen out fakers is expected to rise.

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