Mother files judicial protest over son’s ADHD treatment with ‘alarming’ side effects

Health authorities’ refusal to provide the child with one medication over another breaches the Convention on the Rights of the Child, mother claims  

(File Photo)
(File Photo)

A mother has filed a judicial protest over substitute treatment that made her son go through “alarming and severely negative side effects”.

The judicial protest, drafted by lawyer Anthony Cutajar, states that in refusing to deal with the mother’s complaints and with their continued supply of substitute treatment for ADHD, the authorities were breaching the Convention on the Rights of the Child among other things.

The mother, who asked not to be named, said that her son, also autistic, had been seeing a psychiatrist since a very tender age and had been prescribed the medicine Concerta.

She explained how, for some reason and without prior notice, in July of last year, the Concerta was substituted for Xenidate.

“While this is based on the same chemical as the Concerta, Xenidate had alarming and severe negative side effects on the child, causing him anxiety and altering his behaviour making him a danger to himself and to those around him,” the judicial protest read.

The mother said that once she noticed these side effects, she stopped giving him the Xenidate, provided for free via the government’s formulary, and went back to giving him the Concerta, which she had to buy from the local pharmacy.

The mother explained that upon this change, her son’s behaviour returned to normal.

She then went before the Exceptional Medicines Treatment Committee which decided on the 22 October 2018 that the more beneficial Concerta be provided for free for the child by the authorities responsible.

However, despite the committee’s decision, Chief Medical Officer Dennis Vella Baldacchino and the Central Procurement and Supplies at Mater Dei did not recognise this decision and attempted to revoke the same committee’s decision, electing to persevere to keep providing the Xenidate treatment.

“With their conduct, the authorities abdicated their duty to procure efficacious medicine that could benefit every patient. They also denied the right of this particular child to efficient medication via the benefit of the Pharmacy of Your Choice scheme,” the judicial protest read, adding that the behaviour of the authorities in question was putting the family through needless suffering.

The judicial letter asked for Health Minister Chris Fearne, Vella Baldacchino, the Central Procurement and Supplies Department at Mater Dei and the Attorney General to pay for the damages incurred.