The letter, regarding a detail aid for Novartis's Focalin XR, accuses Novartis of making "unsubstantiated superiority claims" for Focalin XR in comparison to Concerta. What is interesting -- and completely new as far as I can tell -- is that the claims DDMAC are taking exception to are, in fact, primary endpoints of two controlled clinical trials:
So, in essence, DDMAC appears to be taking exception to the trial design, not to Novartis's interpretation of the trial results. This would seem to be a dramatic change in scope.
Treatment for ADHD consists of symptom relief over an extended time period; thus, ADHD medications must control disease symptoms over the entire treatment course. However, the referenced clinical studies only focused on one specific time point (2 hours post-dose) as the primary efficacy measure in the treatment course of Focalin XR and Concerta. By focusing on the 2 hour post-dose time point, the studies did not account for the different pharmacokinetic profiles and subsequent efficacy profiles associated with Focalin XR and Concerta over the entire treatment course.
I am not familiar with the trials in question -- I will post an update with more information shortly. Of special interest to me would be to understand: Were these pivotal trials that played a role in Focalin XR's approval? If so, did the FDA review them in a Special Protocol Assessment (and therefore are two distinct branches of FDA providing divergent opinions on these endpoints)?