When analyzing the pharmaceutical industry, it is practically impossible to not focus on the countless changes that have taken place over the years.
After all, research and development dedicated to various forms of drugs have remained unparalleled by anything achieved in most other markers. The medical experts have figured out new ways to treat patients and drugs that are now administered are safer and more efficient than ever before.
So, how exactly has the growth of the pharmaceutical industry looked over the past few years?
The pharmaceutical industry originally came to life in the early 1800s. This was a time when drugs like morphine were slowly getting into the distribution windows of local apothecaries. In fact, it is fair to say that morphine jump-started an entire movement as it was one of the first drugs to ever be isolated from a plant. From that point on, most chemical experts who were interested in deriving further compounds began working with various mineral sources.
As the 19th century came to a close, researchers made an important breakthrough that would play a crucial role in the pharmaceutical industry. Namely, they discovered that adrenal extracts have a very distinct effect on tissue. As minor as this breakthrough may seem, learning this allowed them to begin taking advantage of adrenaline to develop new drugs. For example, the fact that adrenaline can cause someone’s blood pressure to rise was leveraged to begin using it on patients who were dealing with shock, per se.
The first sleep aid was developed at the turn of the century in 1903. It was made by Hermann Emil Fischer and Joseph Von Mering who patent their product upon learning that it causes dogs to fall asleep. The drug was named Veronal and was a derivative of combining methylmalonic acid and phosphorus oxychloride.
Arguably, one of the most important findings of the 19th and 20th century would have to be insulin. After all, given the number of patients dealing with Diabetes, it is fair to say that millions of lives are positively impacted by this innovation even today. As far as this evolution itself, it started by researchers discovering that they can actually cause diabetes in dogs by surgically removing their pancreas.
From that point on, they had living organisms that they could try to rid of diabetes with various drugs. The actual discovery of modern-day insulin did not happen until the mid-1900s when researchers from Canada realized that pancreatic extract will reverse the symptoms of diabetes caused by the removal of the pancreas.
Given that the advancement of drugs in society is only limited by the technological resources at the time, it is not a surprise that certain improvements will constantly take place. After all, this is the reason why certain breakthroughs that were once incomprehensible are now taking place on a regular basis. So, what are some of the ways in which the industry is growing today?
Well, according to a medical director with extensive experience in healthcare, managed care, and health IT, Michael Basco, research nowadays is being led by the pharmaceutical conglomerates. These include companies like Pfizer, Roche, Johnson and Johnson, AstraZeneca, Merck and Co., and many others. Some of the areas that they are focused on include better diabetes solutions as well as medicines for sickle cell disease, asthma, and countless forms of cancer. Based on the current trends, it seems that there is a completely new drug created every few years and one could make a conclusion that it is just a matter of time before current-day drugs are optimized to be twice as effective with only half of the side-effects.
Although the technological tools and human ideas continue to push the limits, procedural requirements are one of the few things that have not been subject to change. In other words, the process that a certain drug must go through in order to get approved is still extremely intense. And rightly so. Releasing drugs that have not shown positive results in controlled scenarios over the years is an incredibly dangerous venture that could harm or kill millions of people.
According to Michael Basco, the United States still relies on the Food and Drug Administration to test new products. Before even getting to that level, however, extensive research must be conducted, and they must obtain data that will make them eligible for human trials. Afterward, the process is divided into three phrases that have to meet specific expectations in order to be approved. Even after getting this approval, there is still a fourth phrase that is done after the clinical trials and calls for post-approval surveillance. So, the odds of dangerous compounds being released into the market are quite low.