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The Evolution of the Pharmaceutical Industry Over the Past 50 Years: A Personal Reflection


  • Henry Grabowski


The pharmaceutical industry has an outstanding record of innovative performance over the past 50 years. The R&D process has become more knowledge-based and a market for innovation has emerged between research start-ups, development-stage firms, and the larger, multinational companies. At the same time, R&D costs have increased several fold over time and generic products now dominate many traditional therapeutic areas. The current challenge for the industry is to discover new therapies for chronic diseases with high unmet needs like Alzheimer's disease and various auto-immune diseases and cancers that afflict an increasingly aging population. Recent advances in molecular biology and related fields provide a scientific foundation to undertake these R&D efforts, although the time path and outcomes remain subject to many risks and uncertainties.

Suggested Citation

  • Henry Grabowski, 2011. "The Evolution of the Pharmaceutical Industry Over the Past 50 Years: A Personal Reflection," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(2), pages 161-176.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:ijecbs:v:18:y:2011:i:2:p:161-176
    DOI: 10.1080/13571516.2011.584421

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