Patients who reacted poorly to a change in ADHD treatment will revert back to branded medication, however, the government is non-committal on when the change will occur.

Medication available worldwide allows 95 per cent of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder to be treated with one form of medicine or another.

Locally, a branded medicine, Concerta, was recently swapped for a cheaper generic one. Some ADHD sufferers had subsequently reported their condition had regressed. 

Psychiatrists have warned that changes in medication provided by the government were having a detrimental effect on children and adults.

ADHD Malta has also warned against the temptation to play around with medication.,  while the Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health flagged “adverse effects” as a result of the medicine switch.

The government has insisted that it supplied high-quality generic medicine and had commissioned an independent study to look into a number of cases.

Nationalist MP Simon Busuttil last week commended the government’s efforts in looking into the matter but asked when the branded medication would be made available again. Every day without the medicine caused an inconvenience for those who depended on it, he said. 

Switch to cheaper generic 

Health Minister Chris Fearne said in Parliament those patients who would benefit from reverting to Concerta, according to a special technical committee, would be switched back to the branded medicine.

He said the government used to provide Concerta but, once the patent expired, the tender was given to the cheaper generic, as required by law. He said experts had been brought from abroad to look into the matter and it transpired that a number of patients did not react well to the generic medicine. 

However, the current tender could not be dropped as this would be in breach of the law.

Times of Malta also asked how many patients would be given access to the branded medicine, and by when that would happen. A Health Ministry spokeswoman said patients who had been approved by the Exceptional Medicines Treatment Committee to switch back would be notified by the Health Department. 

The process to procure the branded medicine was under way, she added.

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