Opinion (Smitha Mundasad, from BBC News): “Half a century ago, in the drug industry’s golden era, we were bestowed with countless pills to lower blood pressure, control blood sugar and get rid of infections. But today it costs about $1bn to bring a new medicine to market, a process that can take 15 years.
“The industry faces multiple crises as budgets are squeezed and tough scientific challenges loom.
“Academics and patients’ groups are concerned we will not have the drugs necessary to treat future ills.
“Last year, the World Health Organization’s director general, Margaret Chan, warned that the world was heading for a ‘post-antibiotic era.’
“She raised fears that many common infections might no longer have a cure and could once again ‘kill unabated.’
“Major problems, Dr Chan suggested, included growing resistance to antibiotics.
And as the population ages, many of us will battle with neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, where new drugs are also lacking. …
“Prof Paul Workman at the Institute of Cancer Research points to another pressing issue: “With the problems of the financial crisis there has developed something of a vacuum that many of us describe as ‘the valley of death’.
“This is the valley between basic research and innovation on the one hand, and patient benefit and commercial success on the other, with this chasm in between into which there is a lack of funding and a lot of failure.
“He points out that they don’t do the whole thing alone, often partnering with smaller and larger companies in later stages. …
“What all these newer models of drug development have in common, it seems, is collaboration – perhaps presenting a cultural change for an industry that many people believe has had competition at the centre of its working.
“But, says Prof Vallance, while there is need for more collaboration in the early stages of drug development for some of the more complex diseases, that will turn into competition at a later point.
“’There will be fierce competition to get the best drug first, to make sure you do the right trial and show you’ve got the best medicine.’”
My Comment: Medicine and the pharmaceutical industry appear as the largest commercial organizations, opposite to the Hippocratic Oath. What can you expect from them!? People no longer trust doctors, who prescribe medication profitable to their organizations but not helpful to the patient. In everything, egoism works against us!