A few privately funded studies of these compounds have yielded tantalizing hints that some of these ideas merit consideration. Yet doing this research through standard channels, as psychopharmacologist David J. Nutt of Imperial College London and his co-authors noted in a recent article in Nature Reviews Neuroscience, requires traversing a daunting bureaucratic labyrinth that can dissuade even the most committed investigator. (Scientific American is part of Nature Publishing Group.) It can take years to receive approval for a clinical trial from both regulators and hospital ethics committees, even while tallying thousands of dollars in licensing fees and tens of thousands to obtain drugs that are, of course, unavailable from a chemical supply catalogue.
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