Placebo Panacea

The newest drug import from Canada may soon have pharmaceutical companies wishing for the good old days when all they had to worry about was busloads of Minnesotans nipping over the border to buy their Lipitor. Adbusters, the Vancouver-based magazine and culture jammer, has announced plans to sell an antidepressant with a centuries-long track record, minimal side effects, and a cost of mere pennies a dose. The remedy? A sugar pill, with huge built-in name recognition: Placebo. “Placebo performs comparably to, and sometimes better than, antidepressants in clinical trials,” says Richard DeGrandpre, Adbusters‘ editor. Or more bluntly: “The psychiatric drug industry is a sham.”


We believe that journalism needs to stand for something right now. That the press is the enemy of secrecy and corruption. That reporting without a sense of right and wrong only helps liars and propagandists succeed. And that we're in this fight for the long haul.

So we're hoping to raise $30,000 in new monthly donations this fall. Read our argument for journalism that is fair and accurate and stands for something—and join us with a tax-deductible monthly donation (or make a one-time gift) if you agree.

  • Gary Greenberg is a contributing writer for Mother Jones. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, and Harper's.