Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Are pharmaceutical companies really moving away from psychiatric drug development?
However, PhRMA reported earlier in the year that a record 313 new medicines to treat patients suffering from mental health disorders are being developed by America’s pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies (see press release with link to full report). Doesn't sound like a lack of investment to me, even if there are no drugs working by new mechanisms. As has always been the case, the motivation for research is to fulfill the wish for medication that will provide the cure we've been hoping for.
A report from NIMH takes the issue of cure further to prevention and emphasises the importance of so-called personalization and preemption as the foundations for new treatments. As the report itself notes, psychiatric genetics has not yielded a single validated target for any mental disorder. The causes of mental disorders and their mechanisms are unknown making the development of so-called personalized psychiatry a risk for the pharmaceutical industry, which it understandably may not wish to take (see News and Notes from Psychiatric Services).