About the Pharmaceutical Industry
The pharmaceutical industry discovers, develops and manufactures drugs and medications. Fields within this industry include researching new medications, working with chemicals to create drugs and following regulations from government agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States.
Major pharmaceutical products include drugs for:
- Musculoskeletal disorders
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic infections
- Metabolic disorders
- Central nervous system disorders
- Respiratory diseases
Several trends drive growth in the pharmaceutical industry because they create a need for medication and drug treatments or otherwise help pharmaceutical companies. These trends include:
- The prevalence of sedentary lifestyles and an aging population increasing chronic disease frequency
- High pollution levels in urban areas contributing to conditions like asthma
- Research and development (R&D) data services allowing clinical trial data to be used in trial simulations
- New drugs facing low regulatory barriers in some countries
Challenges the Pharmaceutical Industry Faces
Pharmaceutical manufacturing entities often encounter these challenges in their operations:
- Reduced R&D investments: Though many health conditions could benefit from new, more effective drug treatments, many pharmaceutical companies have reduced their investments in launching new pharmaceutical products. High failure rates, high drug development costs and low returns on investment discourage the pharmaceutical industry from product development.
- Government and insurance company policies: Government regulations affect drug regulations, which can make new treatment launches slow and cumbersome. Insurance companies decide who the payer is and set reimbursement standards.
- Consumer attitudes: Some consumers distrust medications and are more willing to try alternative therapies.
- Drug affordability: Many medications are not affordable for patients due to their income or the price of the drug, even with health insurance coverage.