AstraZeneca To End Psychiatric Drug Research

The good news is that AstraZenica, the company that brought you Seroquel, is dropping its psychiatric drug research.

This just out from Reuter’s New Service.

AstraZeneca (AZN.L) is to stop researching some disease areas that form the backbone of its current business — including schizophrenia and acid reflux — in a drive to focus R&D efforts and cut costs.

Acid reflux disease, or indigestion as it is called in layman’s terms, could only be so high a priority for the company in the first place.

I can’t help thinking that this decision of AstraZenica’s had something to do with the suppressed evidence of ill health complications caused by these psychiatric drugs that are being so aggressively marketed. There also can be little doubt but that the litigation brought by people who have been harmed by their drugs must have had some influence as well.

This move will not prevent AstraZeneca from releasing a new antidepressant drug that is in the final stages of testing.

[Anders] Ekblom said he remained confident about the Targacept drug, which is shortly to start final Phase III tests, but saw limited longer-term opportunities in the psychiatric field.

His views echo those of Glaxo CEO Andrew Witty, who last month said Glaxo would stop researching antidepressants because of uncertain returns.

GlaxoSmithKline’s declining antidepressant returns may have had something to do with a recent feature in Newsweek Magazine reporting that antidepressants as a rule work no better than sugar pills. Powered sugar, I would imagine, is much more affordable than are SSRI antidepressants.

The bad news is that this closure probably opens up new money making opportunities for some relatively unknown company to break into the chemical oil boom the psychiatric drug trade represents.

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