Mental illness is among the most costly medical expenses in the U.S., and it has a high cost to employers in lost productivity. In 2019, 51.5 million adults were living with a mental illness in the U.S., and the number of people suffering and drug costs, already in the tens of billions of dollars annually, are projected to grow in the years ahead, with Covid-19 compounding mental health issues globally.
Drugs long stigmatized, such as psilocybin and MDMA, are rising in profile as mental illness treatment options. Just last week, results from a phase 3 trial of MDMA combined with talk therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder showed results that were impressive.
“This is a pivotal event,” said Elemer Piros, a biotech analyst at Roth Capital Partners who covers the emerging alternative mental health treatment space. “It may not seem humongous, but it is one of the best and most rigorously executed trials in the space. And the results corroborate what we have seen time and time again from smaller studies over the past two decades,” he said, referencing remission rates double that of a placebo. “The magical experiences kept showing up, but no one had the courage to take it through to regulators.”