Mental health conditions exact a heavy human and economic toll in the United States. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that 1 in 4 American adults—61.5 million—have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder. According to the NIMH, serious mental illnesses cost the United States more than $317 billion annually in lost wages, health care expenditures and disability benefits.
Biopharmaceutical research companies are currently developing 119 medicines to help people who have some type of mental disorder, such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, or substance use disorders. Those medicines are either in clinical trials or awaiting review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), with more than 75 percent of the medicines in the earliest phases of research and development—a time when potential treatments often face difficult hurdles and setbacks.