Blockbuster Drugs: The Rise and Fall of the Pharmaceutical Industry (Hardback)Jie Jack Li (author)
Hardback 240 Pages / Published: 23/01/2014
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Blockbuster drugs-each of which generates more than a billion dollars a year in revenue-have revolutionized the industry since the early 1980s, when sales of Tagamet alone transformed a minor Philadelphia-based firm into the world's ninth-largest pharmaceutical company. In Blockbuster Drugs, Jie Jack Li tells the fascinating stories behind the discovery and development of these highly lucrative medicines, while also exploring the tumult the industry now faces as the "patent cliff" nears. Having spent most of his career in drug research and development, Li brings an insider's eye to the narrative as he recounts the tales of discovery behind such drugs as Tagamet, Zantac, Claritin, Prilosec, Nexium, Serouquel, Plavix, and Ambien. As he discusses each breakthrough, Li also shows that scientific research is filled with human drama-serendipitous discoveries, sudden insights, tense confrontations. For instance, the author tells of James Black, who persisted in the research that led to Tagamet-and that would ultimately win him a Nobel Prize-despite pressure from top executives to pursue "more profitable" work. The book shows how research behind Prilosec combined creativity, international cooperation, and luck-the turning point being a chance encounter of American and Swedish scientists at a conference in Uppsala. There are also tales of fabulous rewards-George Rieveschl, the chemist who invented Benadryl, made a fortune on royalties-and of unjust desserts. Finally, Li shows that for the world's largest prescription drug manufacturers, recent years have been harrowing, as many popular drugs have come off patent in the U.S. market, meaning hundreds of billions of dollars in lost revenue. Anyone who enjoys tales of scientific discovery, or is curious about the history behind the prescriptions they take, or wants a revealing inside look at the pharmaceutical industry will find this book well worth reading.
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Number of pages: 240
Weight: 428 g
Dimensions: 211 x 148 x 20 mm
Recipient of the 2015 Alpha Sigma Nu Book Award.
"Once again, with his latest book, Jack Li has produced a wonderfully fascinating and rich history of the so-called 'Blockbuster Drugs.' From the treatment of ulcers and acid reflux, to the control of allergies, and the conquest of pain, Dr. Li weaves a beautiful tale of these extraordinary medicines, familiar to all. The book is full of detail, with an extensive bibliography, and, for the molecular connoisseur, includes chemical structures in the Appendix. Dr. Li is rapidly becoming a premiere figure for writing about medicines for the educated population!" -- Gordon W. Gribble, The Dartmouth Professor of Chemistry, Dartmouth University
"This enjoyable book describes more than a century of progress in the development of many major new medicines for the treatment of human illness. It provides deep insights into the process of innovation and also the remarkable individuals responsible for it. The accounts are understandable to the non-scientist but also valuable to researchers and practitioners of modern medicine. There is a nice balance between the human, historical and medical sides of drug discovery -- one of the most consequential activities of our times." -- E.J. Corey, Nobel Laureate, Harvard University
"Jie Jack Li takes us through the ages of pharmaceuticals in this informative and engaging book. Professor Li links the medical world with its much broader cultural background in a way that will appeal to many. If you are interested in the past, present, and future of the medicines you take and the background to their production, look no further than this book." --New York Journal of Books
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