Why the government should be funding mass scientific studies of Ecstasy, magic mushrooms, and LSD

The U.S.'s model for drug development is broken. Here's how to fix it.

Time to run some trials.
(Image credit: (Illustration by Sarah Eberspacher | Photos courtesy iStock))

Medical drugs are pretty nice. From antibiotics to chemotherapy to good old aspirin, not a day goes by that millions of people don't benefit from pharmaceutical medicine — even granting the occasional disaster.

But the American model of drug development is badly flawed. We use a patent system, so new drugs that make it through the approval process can enjoy a government-granted monopoly to make back the initial investment. But for treatments in which the patent doesn't work — either because the drug won't be widely used, or because it is already in the public domain — our system comes up short. Two recent stories, regarding antibiotics and psychedelics, including LSD and Ecstasy, illustrate the problem, as well as the solution.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.

SUBSCRIBE & SAVE
https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/flexiimages/jacafc5zvs1692883516.jpg

Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up
To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us