The Journey of a New Drug

May 16, 2011

A video blog and brief comment by Robert Kane Pappas


The accompanying clip touches on the stages of a drug’s development. What struck me is that the journey from research lab to doctor’s office has so many intervening points.  Remember, that in our capitalistic system, a “discovery” will not come to market unless it can be monetized.  The financial stakes are huge. The process is fraught with PR.

Scientists have a bit of an inside joke amongst themselves. Whenever a member of the media asks how long it will be until a given discovery will be available to the general public, the stock answer is always “five to ten years.” That answer was repeated to me so often during filming that I finally ended up throwing it back at Dr. Guarente.

 The truth is that researchers don’t know how long, largely because of the FDA dance. I will comment further on this issue in a later segment.  One point worth mentioning; all the scientists that I spoke with seemed rather befuddled about the process whereby a drug gets approved. 

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