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Research into treatments for mental illness is under threat

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d3747 (Published 14 June 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d3747
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. 1London

Scientists have called for urgent action after the abrupt withdrawal by drug companies from research into treatments for brain disorders.

In the past year a number of drug companies, including GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca, have pulled out of neuroscience research in Europe because they see it as economically unviable. Furthermore, levels of European Union research funding into mental disorders and diseases of the brain have been low in comparison with private sector funding.

A report from the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology, published this week, makes a number of recommendations.

It calls for the regulatory process to be reviewed to encourage more and better trials in psychiatry and for incentives to be offered to drug companies, such as extending the life of patents on new drugs for brain disorders. …

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