Ethics of the Drug
Discovery and Development
AstraZeneca R&D, Macclesfield, Cheshire, UK
The contribution of new medicines to the improvement of global health and alleviation of disease-related suffering is apparent to all except the most cynical commentators. Since the early evolution of anti-infectives from the dyestuffs industries, and the stimulus given to discovery of such medicines by the needs of the Second World War, the subsequent eras of drug discovery have rolled forward with varying successes and difficulties for different actors in this drama.
In drug discovery there have been several eras, each presenting new ethical challenges, and none more challenging than the “new biology” of the last 15 years, which is still evolving apace.
It is clear that since thalidomide in 1961, a sea-change in approaches to drug development as distinct from discovery has also taken place. No longer were medicines to be developed with minimal pre-clinical testing, and the major concerns being to ensure that quality be maintained consistent with the material first used in humans. Instead the concern has been to apply the optimum pre-clinical and quality testing prior to introduction into
* The views expressed in this chapter are the personal views of the author, and are not necessarily those of his employers or others he may represent.
Pharmaceutical Ethics. Edited by S. Salek and A. Edgar. © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.