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Prescription for ChangeThe Looming Crisis in Drug Development$
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Michael Kinch

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469630625

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469630625.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 27 October 2021

Dreams of Greatness

Dreams of Greatness

The Birth of the Pharmaceutical Industry

(p.53) Chapter Three Dreams of Greatness
Prescription for Change

Michael Kinch

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter details the birth of the pharmaceutical industry, whose roots trace back more than six millennia. While modern society struggles with opiate addiction, the problem is centuries old and fostered a literal trade war in the form of the Opium Wars of the 19th century and whose scars still muddle international relations of China with the West today. During this same time period, improvements in understanding opium facilitated the discovery of new and more potent products that nurtured modern companies such as Merck & Co. Perhaps no other discovery has impacted the industry or public health as much as antibiotics and we trace the history of these medicines and debunk misunderstandings and misattributions associated with their discovery. The impact of antibiotics was propelled by the Second World War, which also gave rise to the first treatments for cancer when two top-secret projects, one at Yale and another resulting from an audacious raid by the Luftwaffe upon an Italian port town, unexpectedly revealed the life-saving implications of mustard gas. Finally, we relate the triumphant and turbulent relationships that gave rise to the discoveyr of insulin and its widespread distribution by a paragon of “ethical pharmaceuticals”, Eli Lilly & Company.

Keywords:   Morphine, Antibiotics, Penicillin, Mustard Gas, Insulin

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