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Tufts E-News: Drug Development Slow

Tufts E-News: Drug Development SlowTufts Study Finds Increased Pace Of New Drug Discovery And Development Outpaced By Demand

Boston [01.26.01] Over the last decade, scientists have significantly increased the speed of drug development, creating a scientific environment "nothing short of remarkable," reports a new Tufts study. Despite the industry's advancement, the Tufts researchers say the demand for new drugs still exceeds the supply.

According to the Boston Globe, "The pace of innovation -- remarkable though it may be -- still can't keep up with the increasingly demanding business of drug discovery and development, the [Tufts Center For the Study Of Drug Development] report said."

And the situation may get worse.

Kenneth Kaitin -- the director of the Tufts center -- says public concerns about the safety of new drugs may cause legislators and regulators to slow the development process.

Kaitin told the Globe that investors and the public are also making matters worse with increased pressure to lower drug prices.

Safety concerns, combined with pressure for shorter, cheaper development times may leave drug development companies with a tough dilemma.

"The pharmaceutical and biotech industries realize they are heading into difficult territory," Kaitin told the Globe. "They are trying to achieve efficiency through better technologies, improved recruiting of patients for clinical trials, and by streamlining research. But the overall time it takes to get products to market is somewhat out of the industry's control."

If the FDA approval process becomes more stringent, Kaitin warns that the drug development process may lose a lot of ground.

"Certainly, the shift is going to put additional pressure on industry," Kaitin said in the Globe's article. "If it goes back to the old days in the early 1980s, when we were the last industrialized country to get new medicines, that would be a mistake. But it's up to the public to determine where the balance should be set."

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