The top 8 pharmacological breakthroughs of the past decade

 

We are fortunate enough to live in an era of scientific, technological and more importantly, pharmacological breakthroughs. Right from the internet to the upcoming hyperloop, we are surrounded by new technologies that have changed or have the potential to change the way we live our lives.

But you’d agree that some of the most important of these discoveries have been in the healthcare sector. Pharmacology to be more precise.

Today, we take a look at the top 8 pharmacological discoveries that have changed the world for the better.

  1. Newer more efficient anti-malarial drugs: A new anti-malarial drug prevents the malarial parasite from replicating in the body by hindering its entrance into the RBC. Considering that malaria accounted for 429,000 human lives as recently as 2015, this revolutionary new drug could help stem malarial mortality rates greatly, especially in Africa, where the disease continues to ravage populations.
  2. Gleevec: Imantib, popularly sold under the brand name Gleevec, has been a revolution in cancer treatment. Researchers have reported a phenomenal success rate following treatment with Gleevec with relapse rates as low as 17%. The drug is primarily used for treating chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) and acute lymphocytic leukemia.
  3. Use of chemical compounds: A newer technique for discovering new drugs allows specific chemical compounds to be applied for the precise treatment that they were devised for in the first place. This was discovered by The Scripps Research Institute by showcasing an unheard of compound that can be very effective in the treatment of Diabetes caused due to obesity.
  4. Serelaxin: Serelaxin is considered to be the most effective pharmacological drug used for treating acute heart failure. Clinical studies reveal that it improves the survival rates by as much as 37% after a patient suffers from heart failure.
  5. Cystic Fibrosis drug: Vertex pharmaceuticals is all set to release a combination drug that can help treat Cystic Fibrosis. This will be a relief for the thousands of people who struggle to find an efficient treatment method for this condition. Reports indicate that the drug could be released as early as 2018.
  6. Treatment for Ebola: Zmapp, a new drug looks very promising in the treatment of the deadly Ebola virus. While clinical trials have been limited to a group of monkeys who have recovered completely, at least one human trial is currently underway with promising results.
  7. Treatment for multiple sclerosis: Multiple sclerosis, the debilitating condition that severely impairs spinal cord function and the brain, can now be successfully modified in the early stages of infection. A new drug might help to convert adult stem cells into another type of cells that can produce Myelin, the primary fatty compound that gets affected in Multiple Sclerosis.

Xtandi and Erleada: These are by far, the two drugs that are giving a new lease of life to millions of men suffering from castration resistant prostate cancer. Elreada was approved by the FDA in Feb 2018.

New drug promises a fresh lease of life for HIV patients

As the onus of governments around the world and the World Health Organization continues to be towards curbing the spread of HIV through awareness, scientists and researchers continue to explore all avenues for even the remotest possibility of a cure.

As a matter of fact, a new drug that was recently approved by the FDA is touted to offer some respite to HIV patients who failed to respond to other forms of therapy, including multi-drug treatments.

Fighting drug resistant HIV

HIV drug resistance, a dangerous condition in which the HIV virus successfully mutates and replicates in the human body despite treatment with antiretroviral drugs, can severely limit therapeutic options for patients.

In fact, in extreme cases the condition is considered to be as worse as not receiving any form of treatment at all.

However, with a new injectable drug called Trogarzo, when clubbed with a few other antiretroviral drugs can successfully prevent the virus from mutating in the body.

With almost 25,000 (just an estimated number) of patients in America believed to be suffering from multidrug resistant HIV, the approval of the drug was a much welcome move.

Unlike conventional antiretroviral drugs which belong to the category of Protease inhibitors, Trogarzo is categorized as a CD4-directed post-attachment HIV-1 inhibitor. It attaches itself to the CD4+ receptor cells which in turn prevents the virus from infecting those.

With regular dosage, it can help mitigate the spread of HIV and strengthen the immune system in such patients.

What will it cost a patient?

Often, the arrival of a new promising drug is marred by patents and laws which hike the price to unaffordable levels, especially in third world nations, where the condition is more prevalent than ever.

However, the acquisition cost of Torgarzo is pretty low and some agencies expect that each intravenous infusion may cost as less as $25 for a patient and it can be administered both in house or in a healthcare center with ease.

Clinical trials have proven the drug to be extremely successful in reducing the viral load in as much as 80% of the subjects. Considering that these infections were not responding to any of the treatment options being used currently, that’s a breakthrough for sure.

Who manufactures Trogarzo?

The next big question that patients around the world is who manufactures Trogarzo. Well, a lot of people might be a tad surprised to know that Trogarzo is manufactured by WuXi AppTec, a Chinese Biologics firm. However, the patent rests with TaiMed Biologic, a Taiwanese firm.

Also, Theratechnologies Inc, a Quebec company is the one that will be marketing the drug in the US and Canada.

What’s more important is that the drug is FDA approved for use and is expected to be made available around the world in as less as 6 weeks from now.

With a significant chunk of the patient population struggling with HIV related complications and an impending death due the drug resistant condition, Trogarzo certainly has a large market to cater to.

Can you buy medication from legitimate online pharmacies in 2018?

It’s been almost two decades since online shopping exploded in popularity. But buying medications online has always been considered to be a shady affair that is rife with risk.

Risk, that you might be consuming a shiny, perfectly-packaged pill that was made in some backyard in a third world country and probably contains nothing that you’d expect it to.

We have heard the infamous stories of fake Viagra being made from Brick powder and injectibles containing a concoction of deadly drugs.

But the fact is, it’s 2018 that we are talking about and the online pharmacy business has undergone a sea of change. Not to mention that governments, law enforcement agencies and other organizations have been cracking down on illegal pharmacies in a more efficient manner than ever before.

So, at a time when you are trying to reduce healthcare costs and you come across an online advert that promises a great deal on your refill for everyday meds, do you take the plunge?

How reliable are online pharmacies these days?

Spotting the murky part of the online world

According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), more than 96% of the pharmacies online might be illegitimate or unlicensed to operate in the United States.

That, in no way means that the medications that they sell are counterfeit or poorly made. But the risk is always present.

And when it comes to life saving drugs, would you be willing to take that risk? That’s for individual customers to answer.

For now, there are a few easy ways that allow you to spot a fake pharmacy before you swipe your card.

  1. The ‘.pharmacy’ domain extension: If the website has the ‘.pharmacy’ domain extension instead of a ‘.com’ or a ‘.org’, then you can shop worry-free with them. Only pharmacies reviewed and licensed by NAPB are allowed to register this domain extension.
  2. The verified seal from VIPPS: The Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites program is a third party accreditation service for the NAPB that verifies legitimate pharmacies. A seal from VIPPS can be used as an indicator that the pharmacy is a legitimate one.
  3. State-Licensed Pharmacist: A licensed, legitimate United States pharmacy will always have a state-licensed pharmacist on board to answer your queries. You can ask them for the license and they will be more than willing to share the details with you.
  4. Submitting Prescriptions: Every licensed pharmacy will require you to submit a valid prescription and verify the authenticity of the same. If a pharmacy is willing to fill a prescription for you for a fee, then that’s a red flag right there.

Looking for bargain generics in storefronts

At times, you do not even need to look online for discounted rates on medications. There are hundreds of storefronts around the US that offer great discounts on generics. Some offer membership plans that give you access to discounted rates.

All said and done, it is possible to safely order medications from the internet. You just need to be aware of the pitfalls.