In Western countries literally thousands of pharmaceutical drugs can be sold lawfully. One may wonder whether such a number is too high or too low, but that is beside the point: the truth is that the active ingredients which make up these drugs - that is, genuinely effective substances - are much fewer. Most drugs in circulation are costly variants of an initial prototype, and in some cases they are of questionable efficacy or even useless. How does a new prescription drug reach the market? What kind of clinical testing must it go through? And how does the transition from scientific experimentation to product commercialisation occur? This volume answers these questions and examines the many groups involved: researchers, industry, regulatory agencies, physicians, citizens and consumers. This complex, and sometimes surprising, system influences everyone's life.
Contents: 1. Pharmaceutical Drugs in Everyday Life - 2. Drugs Which Have Changed History - 3. The Discovery of New Drugs - 4. The Drug Market and Drug Use - 5. Which Drugs Do We Need? - 6. Information on Drugs - More on Pharmaceutical Drugs.
Stefano Cagliano is a physician and an expert in pharmacology policy.
Alessandro Liberati teaches Medical Statistics at the University of Modena and directs the Italian Cochrane Centre.