NIDA offers financial and regulatory incentives, but reluctant pharmaceutical companies are worried about the legal risks
WASHINGTON--The federal government wants to persuade the pharmaceutical industry to join its war on illegal drugs. At a two-day conference here this week the two sides will discuss financial and regulatory inducements to drug companies that create medications to fight mental illness to join the battle.

Agencies within the Public Health Service are hoping that pharmaceutical companies--many of which produce antidepressants, analgesics, and other chemicals that affect the central nervous system (CNS)--will play a larger role in developing compounds that might one day wean addicts from heroin and cocaine. And they are trying to overcome the industry's traditional reluctance to engage in such investigations by offering them research money, joint development, and the promise of an expedited review of any drugs generated in the lab.

Many industry officials remain reluctant to join the war,...

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