Need for R&D and innovation Today, the need for R&D and innovation is great, maybe greater than ever. In the developed world, access to medicines is becoming a society’s demand and an ever increasing expectation from patients. Yet, in spite of the significant amount of medicines that have been developed over the decades, there are still many diseases which have not been addressed or for which appropriate treatments have yet to be developed. Many patients suffering of orphan diseases (or rarely occurring diseases) are waiting for appropriate treatments, and parents with sick children desperately watch for medicines adapted to pediatric needs. Additionally, in the developing world, thanks to globalization and global communication, people are more aware of what treatments are potentially available and, in return, have increased expectations. Moreover, populations are rising, and on the whole, aging. People are living longer and rightly expect appropriate care all along their life. Finally, and as seen recently in the case of the porcine flu, the event of a pandemic, and its potentially devastating effects on a global scale, is something that humanity has to face on recurrent occasions, calling for fast and efficient drug development and easy access to most populations.
All these factors contribute to the fact that research and development (R&D) re...
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...otential new drugs, only a dozen will make it to preclinical trials. Eventually, after clinical trials on animals then humans, only one or two of the original 10,000 molecules will make it to the ultimate marketing authorization stage and commercialization to patients (Les Entreprises du Médicament, 2008).
Overall, the process will take 7 to 12 years to complete, with a cost of development reported to be US$800 million for each drug (Dickson & Gagnon, 2004). Understandably, with such lengthy processes and need for extensive investment, and given the fact that developments of drugs are the endeavors of private entities, only companies with substantial profits can re-inject their benefits into research and development. This not only limits the number of companies that can perform R&D but also potentially affects the span of diseases that can be studied and addressed.
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