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MEDICINES: HEALTH INDUSTRY ?

A commercial preparation can be defined as the final product distributed on the market.

Each drug is composed of one or more active agents, that is by particular synthesis substances (an attempted reproduction of something similar to and natural for the organism) that can interact within it and are contained in pharmaceuticals produced by various multinational companies and therefore provided with different names.

Many pharmaceutical compounds can be found on the world market and, in order to produce each drug, the global expenditure and the average costs for manufacturers are soaring each year.

This is then the schematic perspective hosting the pharmaceutical industry, an atypical and, to a certain extent, a unique sector in comparison to the others. Many pharmaceutical companies maintain their leading position thanks to a series of mergers, acquisitions and profit sharing in big deals (e.g. Telethon). Any of these business partnerships are highly representative in showing how multinational companies aim to put the drug market in the hands of a small élitist caste. This kind of behavior, which has actually given official status to a real drug oligopoly, is named 'blockbuster', a kind of drug that is all the rage.

Like any other company operating at global level and resorting to powerful and extensive resources (in terms of machinery, know-how and workforce), pharmaceutical multinational firms generate an enormous amount of toxic substances, which have to be disposed of somewhere. These substances must be discharged and doing so in a short time may seem an integral part of the manufacturing process, also considering the large heaps of waste materials produced.

Excessive residual quantities would end up hindering the actual production with considerable economic losses for manufacturers. Not surprisingly, therefore, pharmaceutical companies are also responsible for the high levels of pollution (e.g. rivers and oceans), since their production also covers pesticides, a less advertised, though just as profitable, activity. It is easy to imagine the disastrous effects on the environment (ecosystem, biodiversity, and hole in the ozone layer) and on the health of all living beings (factory of mass-produced diseases …).

It is difficult to evaluate the exact number of marketed pharmaceuticals because of the continuous changes performed by the same manufacturers and the consideration that what this industry gives in return to patients/consumers in terms of improved quality of life is yet to be proved.



Before ending up on market medicines are tested in clinical trials, which can be briefly summarized as follows:


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