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Michelle Hoffman, editorial director of Pharmaceutical Technology.
Drug makers, drug inspectors, and drug consumers need to demand that new drugs be effective.
With this issue, we at Pharmaceutical Technology close our 30th anniversary celebration. In July, we marked the occasion with a look back at everything that's changed since our magazine's launch in 1977. In a special report on page 40, we ask industry experts to look forward and speculate on what we might expect to see in the coming 30 years.
So, in keeping with the spirit of things, I'd like to share a fantasy and a wish. Here's the fantasy: I'm at work, when I notice a colleague that I haven't seen for a couple of days. "Where have you been?" I ask.
"Oh," replies my colleague, "I was out for a few days with cancer. I'm feeling better now."
"Good," I answer. "I'm glad it wasn't anything serious."
The wish is that syndromes that seem difficult to manage now will, within 30 years (less, if I could really have my wish), be as unremarkable as a head cold.
So, what will it take to make that fantasy possible? I don't know for sure, but I suspect that one factor is for firms to place much greater value on innovation, even if it means putting aside some scientific and fiscal conventional wisdom (after all, that kind of thinking has led to some rather dry pipelines, it seems).
CALL FOR PAPERS
I also think drug makers, drug inspectors, and drug consumers need to demand that new drugs be effective. Perhaps in the future, animal models of disease will improve and become more actively predictive than they must be right now, especially considering that so many drugs fail in Phase III. (And while we're on that subject, why do we ask about a drug's efficacy at the very end of drug development, anyway?) I am gratified to see that the USFood and Drug Administration and consumers are starting to demand new drugs that offer a quantum improvement and not just incremental improvements over existing drugs. I believe this call to action will go a long way toward stimulating innovation.
I would also like to think that by publishing cutting-edge developments in drug formulation and manufacturing, we at Pharmaceutical Technology are also, in our own way, contributing to the general advancement of pharmaceutical science and drug making. We certainly have expert help. I would like to thank the many members of our Editorial Advisory Board—some of whom have been with us since the very beginning (Patrick P. DeLuca at the University of Kentucky, and Ram Murty with Murty Pharmaceuticals)—for their continued support and expert critical advice and for keeping us on top of our game.
I also wish for you, our readers, a productive, fruitful, and innovative 2008.