That would be a switch from the current scenario, in which companies have an incentive to create "me-too" compounds that don't offer much benefit over a competitor's but sell because they're heavily advertised, argues Jerry Avorn, professor of medicine at Harvard and author of Powerful Medicines: The Benefits, Risks, and Costs of Prescription Drugs. Comparative data would force drug companies "to work harder to discover drugs that are really an improvement over what we have," Avorn says. In the meantime, depressed patients who drift from medication to medication would just welcome a shorter wait.
Correction, April 19, 2006: The original sentence implied that all 20 antidepressants affect serotonin levels. While many of them do, a few drugs work through other mechanisms. Return to the corrected sentence.
TODAY IN SLATE
Forget Oculus Rift
This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.
The Congressional Republican Digging Through Scientists’ Grant Proposals
Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band
Can it be again?
Whole Foods Is Desperate for Customers to Feel Warm and Fuzzy Again
I’m 25. I Have $250.03.
My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.
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Smash and Grab
Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?