What happens when the drug pipeline for common mental health concerns — such as depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder — starts to dry up?
“Most psychiatric drugs in use today originated in serendipitous discoveries made many decades ago,” according to a recent article on Science News by Laura Sanders. And it’s true — we can trace back today’s most popular psychiatric drugs to discoveries made over 30 — and in some cases, 40! — years ago.
Because of the heady cost of drug development — costing hundreds of millions of dollars to bring a new drug to market — most pharmaceutical companies have been playing it safe these past few decades. They’ve been working on developing “me too” drugs — subtle molecular changes to existing compounds.
Which means the pipeline is darned near empty of truly new drugs likely to come out in the next 5 to 10 years for the most common types of mental illness.