Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The drug development pipeline

---is clogged with “me too” drugs and reformulated “patent extenders” as we experience a dearth of important new medications. Why? Because, according to Alastair J.J. Wood, M.B., Ch.B., speaking at Vanderbilt’s Discovery Lecture:

The current period of patent and other protections barely cover the time it takes to develop and test truly new classes of drugs, Wood explained.

The system encourages the low-risk development of copies of existing drugs, while the development of truly new drugs to treat and prevent diseases like Alzheimer's and osteoarthritis go wanting.

Wood calls for a regulatory revamp to incentivize drug companies to develop truly innovative drugs. Wood’s proposal was detailed in this NEJM piece.

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