The expectations of the pharmaceutical industry are high. We look to the drug makers to find cures to our diseases, to relieve us from pain or discomfort, to ease the costs and burdens of disease on society. All of this without placing anyone at risk, ensuring the safety of every product. The rapid pace of scientific discovery, especially following the sequencing of the human genome, has led many to believe that a pharmaceutical renaissance is just around the corner. It is perhaps the most frustrating fact of the industry that despite an enormous increase in R&D investment, and historical advances in technology through genomics, automation and computation, the number of new drugs produced each year remains at the same level that existed over 40 years ago (about 20 per year), that many of these new drugs do not match up to the most pressing medical needs we face today, and that serious safety issues still crop up on medicines that have been approved, marketed, and administered to millions of patients.
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