Throwing Good Money After Bad
The growing emphasis that the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is placing on funding research aimed at identifying “biological markers” associated with emotional and psychological problems, to the virtual exclusion of other forms of research relevant to treating mental health problems is deeply troubling. The reasoning underlying this type of “doubling down” on a biologically oriented agenda is based on a fallacious assumption, that emotional and psychological problems are the same in type as diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis or cancer. Now some people may wonder what might inspire intelligent people to “throw good money after bad.” Is it possible that their actions might, at least in part, be motivated by the fact that pharmaceutical companies are pulling their money out of the business of developing psychiatric drugs because of the growing evidence that many of the claims regarding the effectiveness of the psychiatric medications developed in the last two decades have been massively inflated?
A recent article in The New Yorker by Gary Greenberg examines this question.