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Observations The Washington Brief

Selling amphetamine emblazoned athletic shirts v overselling amphetamines: a tale of two entrepreneurs

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 17 October 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f6215
  1. Sidney M Wolfe, founder and senior adviser
  1. 1Health Research Group, Public Citizen, Washington, DC
  1. Swolfe{at}

Sidney Wolfe looks at how some prescription drugs have been advertised direct to the consumer

What could be more tasteless and, possibly, harmful than a Los Angeles boutique selling sweat shirts and tee shirts, looking like football jerseys, with the word “Adderall”—a prescription amphetamine for treating attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)—with a large player type number below it? Beyond the legitimate use of such drugs for treating ADHD, there is no doubt that amphetamine stimulants are used by athletes as performance enhancing drugs and are also misused in other ways. The fact that the product description of the shirts includes “Pop one on and you’ll feel better. Doctors orders” only heightens this concern.1

According to an article in the New York Daily News, containing pictures of the shirts and quoting Shire, the manufacturer of Adderall, “The use of ‘Adderall’ in this fashion gravely concerns Shire as it glorifies the misuse and diversion of a federally controlled prescription drug for the treatment of ADHD. Shire opposes the misuse and diversion of prescription drugs.” The article indicated that Shire was “assessing its options” on how to deal with the unauthorized use of the Adderall trademark.2 …

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