From the December 2008 Idaho Observer:

Pharma exploring new marketplace frontier: Drugging healthy brains

Associated Press Science Writer Malcolm Ritter wrote, "Healthy people should have the right to boost their brains with pills, like those prescribed for hyperactive kids or memory-impaired older folks, several scientists contend in a provocative commentary" as the lead to his Dec. 7, 2008, story "Scientists back brain drugs for healthy people."

It appears the pharmaceutical industry, which recognizes that millions of people have been illegally using resold prescription drugs and street drugs as stimulants to help them study for decades, is laying the groundwork to legalize a new class of "brain-boosting" drugs to capitalize on a huge and as yet untapped prescription drug marketplace.

"We should welcome new methods of improving our brain function," and doing it with pills is no more morally objectionable than eating right or getting a good night’s sleep, wrote a group of seven U.S. and British scientists and physicians led by medical sciences law specialist Henry Greely of Stanford Law School in the article "Towards the responsible use of cognitive-enhancing drugs by the healthy."

Since the article was published online Dec. 7, 2008, by the British medical journal Nature, print, broadcast and online media outlets all over the world have picked up the story—as if on cue.

"Society must respond to the growing demand for cognitive enhancement. That response must start by rejecting the idea that ‘enhancement’ is a dirty word," commented the group of seven authors from the United States and Britain."

Ritter reported that one of the seven "experts" is Nature editor-in-chief Philip Campbell as well as scientists and physicians and that Greely, et al., "developed their case at a seminar funded by Nature and Rockefeller University in New York."

Ritter also reported that, "Two authors said they consult for pharmaceutical companies."

The article in Nature can be considered as the opening salvo in Big Pharma’s campaign to pave the way for socially and legally legitimizing "cognitive enhancement." Leigh Turner of the University of Minnesota Center for Bioethics was quoted as stating, "It’s a nice puff piece for selling medications for people who don’t have an illness of any kind."

Greely, et al., went on to state that research must, of course, be conducted to weigh the social and physiological risks and benefits of brain-boosting drugs.