You are here
Home > Medical Services > An Overview of the Pharmaceutical Industry

An Overview of the Pharmaceutical Industry

If you pay attention to politics or the stock market, you know how massive the pharmaceutical industry is in the United States. It’s an integral industry in terms of the service it provides and the capital it generates.

As ginormous and important to our society as big pharma is to our country, most people still don’t know much about it. In this article, we’re going to give you a brief overview of the pharmaceutical industry by answering some common questions.

What is the process for getting a new medication approved?

Before a new medicine can hit the shelves of a U.S. or Canada pharmacy, it has to go through a rigorous approval process. Five years ago, the U.S. and Canada recognized each other as having comparable approval processes, making them two of the most stringent in the world. The U.S. also recognizes New Zealand as having a comparable testing and approval process.

It takes a long time for new medicines to go through the research and development process. It usually takes at least a decade — and that’s assuming all goes as planned.

What separates prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs?

If you didn’t know any better, you’d think the only thing that separates over-the-counter drugs and prescription drugs is their price and means of procurement. However, there’s a major difference in how the FDA regulates these different types of medications.

Prescription drugs have to go through a five-step process to ensure they’re effective, do more good than harm, and that the good they do is worth the harm they do. The process is arduous. Tablet manufacturers sometimes spend decades and billions of dollars trying to get a new tablet to the shelves. As mentioned in the previous section, Canadian drugs go through a similar process.

How do pharmaceutical companies determine drug prices?

Whenever you hear people discussing drug prices, it’s probably not the most positive discussion. However, there are a lot of factors that determine how much new tablets, pills, and capsules cost.

One important factor that impacts the cost of a drug is how much the pharmaceutical company had to spend on research and development. It’s a process that usually takes years. Furthermore, the average cost of getting a new drug to the market is around a billion dollars.

After the FDA affirms a drug’s medical efficacy and patient safety, the company has to begin marketing the drug, which is also costly. We’re not saying that drugs should cost as much as they do — we’re merely pointing out that there are factors that drive drug prices sky-high.

Can you get medicine from foreign countries?

You might’ve heard that you can get discount prescription drugs from north of the border, and you might’ve heard correctly. As you previously read, the United States has recognized Canada as having standards for testing medicines similar to our own. Canada Drugstore is a Canadian pharmacy that offers service to U.S. citizens and takes great pride in providing excellent customer service.

It’s difficult to overstate the importance of the pharmaceutical industry. Luckily, in the United States and Canada, we have two of the world’s best medicine markets. We have programs to help people get access to affordable medication. You can even get your medications from international pharmacies if it’s more suitable for your budget.

Our pharmaceutical market is more heavily regulated than most, meaning we can trust the medicine we get at the local pharmacy to be safe and effective. Furthermore, our pharmacologists and pharmacists receive the world’s best training. Our drug prices might leave something to be desired at times, but there is a price to pay for having access to the best medications in the world.