pharmaceutical industry

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A large industry responsible for development and manufacture of drugs, medications, pesticides, etc., for human and veterinary use. The pharmaceutical industry conducts and sponsors research on pharmacology and therapeutics, seeking new remedies and improved modifications of existing drugs for human and animal diseases. This industry has accomplished much that is good but may be slow to develop drugs to prevent and treat prevalent diseases of low-income countries (malaria, schistosomiasis, tuberculosis) and to make available at low cost some essential drugs in low-income countries. It has lobbied to extend the duration of patent protection of drugs, thus delaying manufacture of cheaper generic preparations with pharmacologically identical properties. Generic drug manufacturers in Brazil, India, and Thailand have partially relieved this situation. The industry has responded to the demand for lucrative drugs to enhance sexual potency, modify moods, and reduce weight. It is accused of influencing decisions about licensing of certain drugs by suppressing publication of scientific studies that question the safety or efficacy of drugs, and by demanding representation on government advisory bodies responsible for decisions about such drugs.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.

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