New or old trusted drugs?


Over the past 8 years, American pharmaceutical companies spent more than $ 50 billion in the search for new drugs, but had to admit that the most innovative products were produced decades ago. With each passing year it becomes more and more difficult to develop a radically new, effective and safe remedy that on the properties surpass existing analogues.

The efficacy of new drugs

When the magazine Prescrire in 2011 published a ranking of innovative medicines, it turned out that only 17 of the 984 drugs that have been developed since 2001, recognized as “a breakthrough in medicine.” Funds radically changes the perception of doctors continue to emerge for the treatment of leukemia, HIV, hepatitis C, age-related macular degeneration.

  • In a study published recently in the journal Health Affairs, examined 315 clinical trials. During these tests, the researchers compared the effect of different drugs and placebo was administered to patients studied funds for the treatment of heart and vascular diseases, respiratory diseases, cancer, infections. The results were placed in the top four journals: BMJ, JAMA, NEJM and The Lancet, in the period from 1966 to 2010. In the early years of the drug easily won a placebo, on average, were 4.5 times more effective than dummy. By 1980, the effectiveness of drugs was 4 times higher than in 1990 – in 2 times. By the end of the 2000s, drugs have become more effective than placebo only at 36%. The researchers came to the disappointing conclusion that older drugs are more effective than most of the new ones.

Everything is relative

  • Many people mistakenly believe that modern medicine certainly more efficient than their predecessors, to serve humanity more than a decade that the approval of the state receive only the best products that do not have serious side effects. Doctors, too, are influenced by advertising and can sometimes prescribe new and more expensive medicine, believing the best to opt for modern tools.

In a recent publication in Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics, it was noted that 9 of the 10 new drugs do not bring significant benefits for patients, are an alternative to older drugs. Office of Food Inspection and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a new drug, if the benefits from its use outweigh the possible risks. This does not mean that the new drug is more effective than its predecessors. In order to compare the effectiveness of conducted clinical trials comparing the new drug with the old, proven remedy recognized “gold standard” for the treatment of a particular disease. If the new drug shows high efficiency, and convincing evidence, recommendations for treatment of the disease can be changed.