Why Have The Feds Reduced Testing Of New Drugs For Treating Schizophrenia?
by Pete Earley
(1-18-19) Dr. E. Fuller Torrey is criticizing the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) for failing to fund new drug trials for medicines that could help treat schizophrenia.
Dr. Torrey is one of the nation’s leading experts on schizophrenia and is the author of the groundbreaking 1983 book, Surviving Schizophrenia, widely considered the standard reference book about the illness.
In an article published this week in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, Torrey was joined by two other physicians, in challenging a NIMH policy that has resulted in the government founding only two new trials for schizophrenia drugs between 2015 to 2017.
NIMH was created in 1946 to find better drugs for treating mental illnesses.
“It is completely unacceptable for NIMH to virtually abandon the search for new drugs for schizophrenia,” Dr. Torrey wrote in an email, “especially at this time when NIMH has received major increases in funding from Congress over the past two years. All of us who want better drug treatments for individuals with schizophrenia should let Dr. Joshua Gordon (head of NIMH) know how important such trials are, and that we are looking over his shoulder to make sure they are done.”
I am trying to compose an email to NIMH Director Dr. Joshua Gordon but find it hard to do.
Can someone help me work out what to say, I desperately want other medication that has less side effects. I’m just not sure what to write.
Maybe the drug companies themselves are abandoning the effort. If there’s nothing to test you can’t do any.
How is Sz not recognized as the worst type of non-fatal mental health diagnosis and therefore deserving of research/testing?
Yeah, that seems to be it. There hasn’t been much progress made in genetic and other molecular biology research to identify new targets for drug development.
There has been progress made in immune-based schizophrenia treatments, but they involve compounds which are off-patent.
The bottom line, I believe, is that pharmaceutical companies are not going to pour money into research if there’s no profit to be made.
There’s actually a fair number of investigational antipsychotics, they’re just not all in trials. They’re either preclinical, or languishing between phases.
Dr. Joshua A. Gordon, Director
National Institute of Mental Health
Office of the Director
6001 Executive Boulevard
Bethesda, MD 20892-9663
Dear Dr. Gordon,
Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness impacting millions like me in the US. We suffer and often live in poverty and on disability. We are more likely to be homeless or in prison. This has enormous social and economic costs. It is not only compassionate to fund schizophrenia medical research, it is a good investment. Public money will be saved if medications with less severe side effects, and that work better and treat more aspects of the illness, can be developed. It could also reduce the suffering of millions. Please fund schizophrenia research!
Any anyone else, feel free to copy, paste and print, tweet, or if you can find his email, email him.