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The Future of Pharmaceuticals: The Changing Environment for New Drugs

Louis Lasagna, MD
JAMA. 1981;246(12):1361. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03320120059033.
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Bezold has compiled a series of briefing papers and discussion summaries from some seminars intended to expose congressional staff people to the forces affecting drug discovery and development. As Alvin Toffler says in the book's foreword, "today's rapid... changes are making our political institutions obsolete.... [The] US Congress today is... deluged with data it can neither digest properly nor apply intelligently." Amen.

The book begins with a look at past predictions about medical progress as well as a guess about the future. Estimates made in 1968 and 1976 were dead right in some respects (H2 blockers, for example) and dead wrong in others (such as the widespread utility of laboratory tests for cancer screening).

Concern is expressed about the impact of the Kefauver-Harris Amendments (and the implementing regulations) on the cost and success of drug discovery and on pharmaceutical incentives. Most of the opinions and data do not generate


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