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.”


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