SEOUL, Oct. 16 (Korea Bizwire) — A rise in the number of prescriptions for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medication known as the ‘smart pill’ is raising concerns of potential misuse.
According to data submitted to Rep. In Jae-kun from the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service, the number of prescriptions for the analeptic methylphenidate reached 3.2 million over the five years from 2014 to first half of 2019.
Looking at the number of prescriptions per year, there was a drop from 594,212 in 2014 to 509,649 in 2016, but the number has been on the rise to 644,470 in 2018 and 367,671 as of the first half of 2019.
In the past five years, 460,000 patients have been prescribed methylphenidate, and the total amount cost of the medical treatment is estimated at 97 billion won.
The medication was most prescribed to those under 19, accounting for 73.6 percent or 2.35 million cases. The corresponding medical expenses reached 82.9 billion won (US$69.8 million), comprising 85.5 percent of the total bill.
For those in their 20s and 30s, the number of prescriptions increased 2.9 times and 1.5 times, respectively, compared to 2014, five years ago. Meanwhile the medical bill increased 4.8 times and 4.3 times, respectively, as well.
D. M. Park (firstname.lastname@example.org)