Australian Government figures indicate that between 2007 and 2009 the number of children in Australia on Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme subsidised ADHD drugs increased 23%, with large variations between states. In 2009 children living in New South Wales, Queensland and Tasmania were nearly twice as likely to be ‘medicated’ for ADHD than children living in South Australia, Victoria and the Northern Territory.
‘This large increase in the Australia wide child prescribing rate was caused by new drugs being subsidised via the PBS and the aggressive marketing of ADHD.’
Queensland, which allows General Practitioners to prescribe amphetamine based ADHD drugs unsupervised by either a Psychiatrist or Paediatrician, saw the highest rate of growth with a increase of 37% between 2007 and 2009.
Even Victoria which has traditionally had relatively low prescribing rates (in 2009 still 30% below the national per capita rate) saw an alarming 19% increase between 2007 and 2009.
The two states that had the highest prescribing rates in the country throughout the 1990’s, Western Australia and South Australia, are now lower than the national average (by 2% and 39% respectively).