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New Drugs Trail Many Old Ones In Effectiveness Against Disease 230

Lasrick tips this report from Reuters: "Despite the more than $50 billion that U.S. pharmaceutical companies have spent every year since the mid-2000s to discover new medications, drugmakers have barely improved on old standbys developed decades ago. Research published on Monday showed that the effectiveness of new drugs, as measured by comparing the response of patients on those treatments to those taking a placebo, has plummeted since the 1970s. 'While experts agree that tougher trials and similar factors explain some of the decline in drugs' reported effectiveness, something real is going on here,' said Olfson. 'Physicians keep saying that many of the new things just aren't working as well,' and therefore prescribe antidepressant drugs called tricyclics (developed in the 1950s) instead of SSRIs (from the 1980s), or diuretics (invented in the 1920s) for high blood pressure instead of newer anti-hypertensives.'"
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New Drugs Trail Many Old Ones In Effectiveness Against Disease

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  • True True (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @06:46AM (#43912793)
    Big Pharma Big Bucks is a decent documentary covering this: []

    Additional Reading: Ben Goldacre's Bad Pharma, Jacky Law's Big Pharma, Marcia Angell's The Truth About the Drug Companies and Irving Kirsch's The Emperor's New Drugs Exposed.

    Companies are out for profit. That in itself isn't bad, but due to stockmarket pressure that becomes all they care about and start chasing the easy money spinners. The easiest money is repackaging old drugs. New drugs are too risky.

    BTW The Chaser's Checkout did a hilarious piece on Complementary Medicine: []
  • by adoarns ( 718596 ) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @07:11AM (#43912911) Homepage Journal

    I am an epileptologist, and I would certainly love to see more effective anti-seizure drugs on the market. But although the newer anticonvulsants aren't necessarily better at stopping seizures than older ones (like the classic four: phenytoin, carbamazepine, phenobarbital, and valproic acid), they are better tolerated, have fewer severe adverse effects, have much more predictable serum concentrations, fewer drug-drug interactions, and require little to no routine bloodwork monitoring. For the 1% of the population suffering from epilepsy who have to take these drugs on a regular basis, this has been a significant change.

  • Re:So what? (Score:5, Informative)

    by jo_ham ( 604554 ) <> on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @07:40AM (#43913057)

    The big problem with statins (from a pharma standpoint) is that they hit on the perfect one right away and the patent is soon going to expire, opening the door to generics. This is great for the patients, but it stops the money train.

    All of the work on alternate statins that can be patented (throwing new function groups on there, changing the core structure but keeping the interaction with the target receptors etc the same) has resulting in a less effective drug.

    With atorvastatin, and others like simvastatin going generic before a new patented, more effective (or as effective) analogue could be developed, the pharma industry has gone into panic. They were some of the must lucrative drugs of all time.

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