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Interpellative Sociology of Pharmaceuticals: Problems and Challenges for Innovation and Regulation in the 21st Century

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This paper develops a framework with which to interrogate how well pharmaceutical innovation and regulation are performing to produce drugs that improve health. That framework comprises five key dimensions: therapeutic advance of drug product innovations; safety standards in drug testing; use of surrogate measures of clinical benefit; independence of regulatory agencies; and public access to regulatory science. It is concluded that: more demanding regulatory intervention is required in order to increase the proportion of drug innovation that actually offers therapeutic benefits over existing products; drug regulatory agencies need much greater independence from the pharmaceutical industry; the erosion of safety standards since 1990 needs to be reversed; accelerated approvals of drugs based on surrogate, rather than clinical endpoints, require much greater critical attention; and much more extensive public access to regulatory science is required in order for regulatory decision-making to be thoroughly accountable to the public and the wider scientific community.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Sussex, Brighton, UK

Publication date: 2007-05-01

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