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What is Pharmaceutical R&D?

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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 12 September 2016
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R&D is an abbreviation for research and development. Research involves studying and developing a deep understanding of an issue. Development is usually a step that seeks to implement new ideas and solutions. Pharmaceutical R&D is research and development that concerns medical care.

The advancements that have been made in medicine and medical technology can often cause people to forget how much is still unknown. There are many problems in the medical industry that are unresolved. There are also areas that could benefit from substantial improvements. Some of these involve processes or resources to detect and prevent illnesses. Some of these involve treatment of illnesses that have been acquired.

The treatment of HIV and AIDS is an example. There are medications that help to manage these viruses, but a cure is yet to be found. There are ways to detect these viruses once they are transmitted, but there is not adequate medication to prevent the transmission. Pharmaceutical R&D often tries to tackle such problems.

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Efforts in pharmaceutical R&D aim to enhance the quality of medical care so that people can live longer and healthier. This type of work is often undertaken or sponsored by pharmaceutical companies. There are others who may be engaged in these efforts, too, such as universities, hospitals, or private ventures. Some people view pharmaceutical R&D as an investment scheme. When a development is made and approved for use, it can be as rewarding for investors as it can for those suffering from the related medical condition.

This does not happen overnight, however. Pharmaceutical R&D is generally a long-term venture. There are many steps in the process between recognizing a problem and putting a solution on the market. The process often involves many failed attempts or periods of stagnant development.

A pharmaceutical R&D team generally includes researchers and scientists. The researchers are usually the people who help the team develop a deeper understanding of the problem. For example, if the team is aiming to find a cure for a disease, the researcher may find all the relevant information on that disease. This information could include transmission, effects, and prevalence. The researcher may also provide information on current methods of treatment and their limitations.

The scientists may take the information that is provided by the researchers and apply it to their efforts to develop a solution. Their jobs are often very technical and involve a great deal of experimentation. A group of scientists can work on a similar problem but be focused on different issues. For example, some may be focused on how a particular medication affects the disease in question. The others may be focused on how that same medication will affect the person who consumes it.

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