The pharmaceutical industry

chemical3The pharmaceutical industry is responsible for the development, manufacture and distribution of medicines and pharmaceutical products.

The history of the pharmaceutical industry

Pharmacies, known as drug stores in the USA, have been around for hundreds of years but there have been numerous changes over this time. Many of the major pharmaceutical companies came into being in the 19th and 20th centuries and the industry has grown continuously since. The UK has a strong pharmaceutical industry, along with Switzerland, Germany, Italy, the USA and Belgium.

Over the years legislation and regulation has been enforced to protect members of the public and control the use and distribution of drugs. In the 1950’s prescription medications were legally distinguished from non-prescription medications and a large number of drugs were developed and marketed in the 1960’s and 1970’s causing the industry to grow rapidly from the mid 1970’s.

Drug development and research have come on leaps and bounds in tandem with developments in science and technology and new treatments, equipment and methods are coming to light all the time.

The modern pharmaceutical industry

medication-1As a result of developments in research and technology pharmaceutical companies have branched out to other industries and fields, including marketing and advertising. Direct marketing to consumers is banned in most countries, with the USA and New Zealand notable exceptions, but marketing is a very important area of the modern industry, especially with the introduction of new communications technology and the birth of the internet.

Drugs have also become more widely available, with online sites selling medications and many high street stores and supermarkets stocking medications.

The pharmaceutical industry is incredibly valuable but it does cause some controversies, animal testing being one of the biggest issues it faces. Many campaigners have lobbied against the use of animal testing and the issue is often raised in the media.

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