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September 11th, 2007
Q. How do scientific discoveries affect the development of medical products?
A. In recent years, there has been an explosion of scientific discoveries made possible through technologies such as genomics, advanced imaging, nanotechnology, and robotics. These scientific advances can help produce more and better medical products—not just drugs, but biologics such as vaccines, and devices such as pacemakers.
But the efficiency for scientific discoveries being translated into medical products is very low—in fact, it's worse than it was 10 years ago. For example, new drugs go through three phases of progressively rigorous testing, or clinical trials, to show their safety and effectiveness before FDA will consider allowing them on the market. Today, new compounds that make it through Phases 1 and 2 of clinical trials fail 50% of the time in Phase 3 compared to a 20% failure rate 10 years ago.
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