A Prescription for Change: The Looming Crisis in Drug Development

A Prescription for Change: The Looming Crisis in Drug Development

A Prescription for Change: The Looming Crisis in Drug Development

A Prescription for Change: The Looming Crisis in Drug Development


The introduction of new medicines has dramatically improved the quantity and quality of individual and public health while contributing trillions of dollars to the global economy. In spite of these past successes--and indeed because of them--our ability to deliver new medicines may be quickly coming to an end. Moving from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present, A Prescription for Change reveals how changing business strategies combined with scientific hubris have altered the way new medicines are discovered, with dire implications for both health and the economy. To explain how we have arrived at this pivotal moment, Michael Kinch recounts the history of pharmaceutical and biotechnological advances in the twentieth century. Kinch relates stories of the individuals and organizations that built the modern infrastructure that supports the development of innovative new medicines. He shows that an accelerating cycle of acquisition and downsizing is cannibalizing that infrastructure Kinch demonstrates the dismantling of the pharmaceutical and biotechnological research and development enterprises could also provide opportunities to innovate new models that sustain and expand the introduction of newer and better breakthrough medicines in the years to come.


The Ride Home

The traffic was unusually heavy for a Monday afternoon. I left my office at the Yale University Center for Molecular Discovery, just four miles from the intended destination, and encountered a backup on I-95 North that was usually reserved for later in the week. Being a beautiful summer day it seemed a few too many fellow commuters in New York City and western Connecticut had decided to call it an early day. Leaving the highway for the back roads, I pulled into the parking lot five minutes late.

Patiently waiting were my twelve-year-old son, Grant, and his teenage sister, Sarah. They had finished the first day of a two-week kayaking camp on the Long Island Sound. As my wife and I had been raised in the Midwest, a thousand miles from the closest ocean, we lived vicariously through our children in a desire to embrace a coastal lifestyle. The kids looked well tanned but exhausted, Grant particularly so. This was to be expected, since Grant was the essence of perpetual motion, requiring very little sleep and always full of energy. Once settled in the car, we initiated the obligatory small talk of how the day had gone, which I learned was spent cruising around the Sound. When not kayaking, the camp provided many snacks, and Grant proudly indicated he had disposed of at least three cupcakes. The stories of paddling, new friends, and junk food filled most of the drive home as we returned to the cavalcade heading north on I-95.

During the ride home, Grant complained of an upset stomach but ate most of his dinner that night, protesting as usual about the mandatory vegetables. He looked exhausted and announced an hour or so after dinner that he was headed to bed early. My wife, Kelly, and I guessed that he likely had gotten a bit too much sun and sea and may have been the victim of a touch of seasickness. After all, this was one of the first times he had ever been on the water, much less boating for an entire day. The three cupcakes probably didn’t help.

A few minutes past midnight, we were awakened by the sound of Grant becoming violently ill. He had always been a trooper when sick, which was . . .

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