In the next decade it is likely that there are not going to be new research to find a substitute of SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) drugs such as Prozac, even if drugs currently used work for little more than half of those treated and demand is steadily rising.
The main reason is that trials are expensive and the antisepressants currently prescribe are going to be cheaper as they are out of patent. Never mind they worl for only about 58% of people.
“We are not going to get any more new drugs for depression in the next decade simply because the pharmaceutical industry is not investing in research,” said Guy Goodwin, professor of psychiatry at Oxford University. “It can’t make money on these drugs. It costs approximately $1bn to do all the trials before you launch a new drug.”
Furthermore, testing for this kind of drugs is problematic and there have been studies thata have raised a question on about how well they perform compared with placebos.
Already one year ago, Stuart Watson, a psychiatrist and industry lead with the National Institute for Health Research’s clinical research network (mental health) said that even when trials of new drugs show promise in early stages they often fall at the final hurdle, reducing the incentives for investment: “There are real challenges. We did see AstraZeneca, and GlaxoSmithKline, the big boys, pulling out of mental health. And you can see why. We’ve got a lot of generic drugs available that are OK.”
“SSRIs with major brands being Celexa, Lexapro, Zoloft, Prozac have greatly suffered over the years from generic competition,” echoed publisher Bruce Carlson, of Kalorama, said.
Source: The Guardian