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Producing New Pharmaceuticals

Producing New Pharmaceuticals

Producing New Pharmaceuticals

Most drugs are now developed in laboratories, but their starting point may be a natural substance with a specific chemical in it. To ensure drugs are both safe and effective, they are thoroughly screened during the development process.

Today, most drugs are made in pharmaceutical laboratories. **** New drugs are always being developed to cure more diseases and to ensure we have drugs to fight pathogens that become resistant to our current drugs.

Where do you think we get the chemicals from that we use to make pharmaceutical drugs? Pick all the options you think are correct.

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The starting compound can be extracted straight from a plant, but they are usually synthetic. What does synthetic mean here?

The process of developing drugs is a slow one. Millions of compounds must be checked against certain criteria to make sure they are suitable to produce drugs from. Which of these criteria do you think are important?

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Safety, effectiveness and dosage.


Safety is important in a drug, as some compounds may be toxic. What is it called when drugs produce undesirable effects in people?


Effectiveness is also known as "efficacy".

The efficacy of a drug checks how well it can cure a disease or minimise symptoms.


What is dosage?


Why do we not want to give too high a dose?

Which of these do you think are factors that slow down the process of creating new drugs?

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There are exciting ongoing developments that will help to overcome these problems in the future. For example, we can model chemical interactions of drugs in simulators. This means that we can test drugs "virtually", which is much faster than testing them in real life.

Modelling drugs interactions in simulators might at some point help us to make medicine personalised to individual patients. How do you think that would work?

Why is medicine that is specific to a person's genetic makeup important?