Old Solutions to Old Problems: Why we haven’t created any new drugs

Read the article linked below, written by Dr. Richard Friedman of Cornell University on the lack of innovation in psychiatric drugs then answer the following questions: 


1.  Given that so many americans are diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder at some point in their lives (1 in 5 take a drug currently), why don’t pharma companies invest in innovation for new and better treatment? What are the obstacles? 

2.  What neurotransmitters do most antidepressants focus on? Why?

3.  In regard to this excerpt, “For example, just because an S.S.R.I. antidepressant increases serotonin in the brain and improves mood, that does not mean that serotonin deficiency is the cause of the disease; many depressed patients get better with medications that have no effect on serotonin”  Discuss this statement. What does it mean for etiology, treatment, and drug innovation?

4.  What drug is suggested as being a possible “new frontier” in regard to treating depression?  What neurotransmitter does it act upon?


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