Medicines: 50 Years of Progress 1930-1980

Wells, N.

Monograph
July 1980

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The Office of Health Economics was invited to make a contribution to the celebration of the Golden Jubilee of the ABPI. This booklet is our response. In it we have broadly surveyed British pharmaceutical progress through the last fifty years. We have had to do so within limits of space and time which have constrained our text in two main aspects.

First, we have chronicled the development of new medicines by way of groupings related to the illnesses they attack. Second, we have not pursued any analysis of costs, prices, benefits or risks which find a place in our usual studies. The booklet is written as a history of achievement in pharmacology which deserves to be commemorated at this Jubilee.

Stemming also from the constraints is another editorial decision. The pharmaceutical industry is a great international industry. Very many developments for the benefit of medicine have come from overseas, principally the United States, Germany and Switzerland. And from these countries also have come very substantial industrial involvement in Britain. Nevertheless, the reader will find that it is only in the case of certain medicines developed by British-owned companies that the innovators have been identified by name. We decided to limit attributions in this way because it seemed to me that it would be appropriate to be frankly British on this British Jubilee. But we so decided well knowing that the whole is greater than its parts, and that the British firms make up but one part of the truly international pharmaceutical industry in this country