ANSWERS: 1
  • "The discovery and development of new drugs, medicines, and vaccines to solve unmet medical needs is an extremely long and expensive process. Generally, the public-sector research, such as the work done at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is focused on “upstream, basic research to elucidate the underlying mechanisms and pathways of disease and identify promising points of intervention.” On the other side of the equation, “corporate researchers have performed the downstream, applied research to discover drugs that can be used to treat diseases and have then carried out the development activities to bring the drugs to market. The intellectual property that protects the investment in developing these drugs is created in the applied-research phase.” In some cases, research conducted by NIH or other Public-sector research institutions (PSRIs) provide the “foundation for the pharmaceutical industry’s discovery of an entirely new class of drugs.” Nevertheless, pharmaceutical companies and industry still take on the heavy burden of carrying out and paying for the applied research phase. Consequently, a recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), focused on the impact of PSRIs, while downplaying the crucial role pharmaceutical companies play. While the article, entitled “The Role of Public-Sector Research in the Discovery of Drugs and Vaccines” notes that “PSRIs have contributed to the discovery of 9.3 to 21.2% of all drugs involved in new-drug applications approved during the period from 1990 through 2007,” it fails to acknowledge where the other 80-90% of drugs come from: the pharmaceutical industry."

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