From the Lab to your Medicine Cabinet: A Timeline of Drug Development

Author: Jessica McAnulty

Edited by: Alison Ludzki, Lihan Xie, and Sarah Kearns

Take a look inside your medicine cabinet. Advil, Benadryl, Sudafed – ready at the snap of a finger if you fall ill. Developing that medicine, however, probably takes much longer than one would expect. On average, getting a potential drug candidate from the laboratory to the pharmacy takes about 14 years, costs more than one billion dollars, and has a low success rate. A successful drug will pass through all five stages: drug discovery, pre-clinical research, clinical trials, FDA approval, and post-market monitoring. Success statistics are gathered several stages into drug development; a new report states 13.8% of drug candidates that enter Phase I of clinical trials, the first test in humans, will earn FDA approval. Upon approval, companies have an exclusivity period ranging from 6 months to 7 years  to earn back the large expense of drug development before generic medicines are released by competitors. For this reason, there is a necessary economic drive associated with pharmaceutical companies so that they can continue production of life-saving medication. Continue reading “From the Lab to your Medicine Cabinet: A Timeline of Drug Development”