In this months essay, Tim Hubbard and Jamie Love argue that we need a better way to research and develop new drugs. They contend that the existing system for drug development--rooted within the pharmaceutical industry--is inefficient and unsustainable. Drugs are too expensive and are beyond the reach of many people in the developed as well as the developing world.
The inadequacies in the current system, suggest Hubbard and Love, are a consequence of a business model that uses a single payment to cover both the costs of manufacture, marketing and sales of a drug and the cost of the research and development (R&D) carried out by manufacturers to discover it. The current system is supported by a vigorously-enforced intellectual property regime, which protects the financial interests of companies and reaches across borders so that poorer countries cannot develop cheaper versions of the drug.
Aside from the inadequate availability and high price of drugs, other unwelcome side-effects of the existing business model are a lack of information sharing amongst researchers, and a consequent reduction in the pace of discovery. There are also strong incentives to develop drugs that have little if any increase in efficacy over existing drugs--so-called me-too drugs. And it is not surprising that many of the major global health challenges, which tend to affect poorer nations, receive short shrift from companies that focus their attention on more lucrative health markets.
Barbara Cohen | EurekAlert!
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Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications
Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...
Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.
The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...
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