§ Mr. Paul Marsden
To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many children have been prescribed methylphenidate in the last year. 
§ Dr. Ladyman
Information is not available in the form requested. However the figures in the following table show the total number of prescription items of Methylphenidate Hydrochloride dispensed in the community in England in each of the last five years. The majority of prescription items of Methylphenidate Hydrochloride are for the brand Ritalin.
Number of prescription items of Methylphenidate Hydrochloride dispensed in the community in England. 1998 to 2002 Prescription items (thousand) Total 1998 126.6 1999 158.0 2000 186.2 2001 208.5 2001 254.0
Prescription Cost Analysis data from the Prescription Pricing Authority849W
In 2002, around 91 per cent. of the 254,000 prescription items were dispensed in the community to children (children under 16 and young people aged 16 to 18 in full time education). An estimated 1 per cent. of the items were dispensed to people aged 60 and over with the remainder being dispensed to other adults. These proportions have been similar in recent years.