Conclusion On Preclinical Testing

As drugs are developed and promoted for long-term use in more and relatively trivial conditions, e.g. minor anxiety, and affluent societies become less and less willing to tolerate small physical or mental discomforts, the demand for and the supply of new safer medicines will continue to increase. Only profound knowledge of molecular mechanisms will reduce risk in the introduction of new drugs. Occasional failures of prediction are inevitable, with consequent public outcry.

Limited resources of scientific manpower and money will not be used to the best advantage if the public shock over thalidomide (p. 81) and subsequent events is allowed to express itself in governmental regulations requiring a plethora of expensive tests (and toxicity testing is very expensive), many of them of dubious meaning for anything other than the animal concerned. Such a policy would prevent industrial laboratories from devoting resources to investigation of molecular mechanisms of drug action, in the knowledge of which alone lies health with safety.

When the preclinical testing has been completed to the satisfaction of the developer and of the national or international regulatory agency, it is time to administer the drug to man and so to launch the experimental programme that will decide whether the drug is only a drug or whether it is also a medicine. This is the subject of the next chapter.

Getting to Know Anxiety

Getting to Know Anxiety

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