Introduction to Unit Processing
The pharmaceutical industry is an important factor for most healthcare systems around the world, for it is comprised with many public and private organizations that help to discover, develop, manufacture, and market medicines. Modern scientific and technological breakthroughs are accelerating the discovery and development of pharmaceuticals with improved therapeutic activity and reduced side effects. Pharmacists, medicinal chemists, and molecular biologists are improving the efficacy of drugs through increased potency, specificity, and safety. These advances create new concerns towards protecting the health and safety of the patients.
Many scientific, social, and economic factors affect the pharmaceutical industry. For instance, pharmaceutical companies operate in both national and multinational markets, which cause the activities to be subjected to legislation, regulation and policies relating to drug development up until its release to the public. Health care providers in hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, and private practices may prescribe or recommend drugs. Government regulations and health care policies on pharmaceuticals are influenced by the public, advocacy groups, and private sectors, which interact to influence the development of drugs.
Various countries have specific legal protections for proprietary drugs and manufacturing processes, known as intellectual property rights. They also have strict requirements for current good manufacturing practices (cGMP) to ensure the integrity of drug manufacturing operations and assure the quality, safety, and efficacy of pharmaceutical products. Some companies specialize in manufacturing and marketing drugs in instances when legal protections are limited or do not exist. The pharmaceutical industry requires a large amount of capital investment due to high expenses for R&D, regulatory approval, manufacturing, quality assurance and control, as well as marketing and sales.
Domestic and international trade, as well as tax and finance policies and practices affect how the pharmaceutical industry operates within a country. Significant differences exist between developed and developing countries, regarding their needs for pharmaceutical substances. Malnutrition and infectious diseases are prevalent in developing countries, which cause the higher need for nutritional supplements, vitamins and anti-infective drugs. Meanwhile in developed countries, cardiovascular, central nervous system, gastrointestinal, anti-infective, diabetes and chemotherapy drugs are in greatest demand since diseases associated with ageing are the primary health concerns.
Drugs for humans and animals undergo similar R&D activities and manufacturing processes, although they have unique therapeutic benefits and mechanisms for their approval, distribution, marketing and sales. Vaccines, anti-infectives and antiparasitic drugs are used by veterinarians to administer drugs and control the infectious diseases and parasitic organisms in agricultural and companion animals. Nutritional supplements, antibiotics and hormones are widely employed by modern agriculture to promote the growth and health of farm animals. The research and development of pharmaceuticals for human and animal health are often allied, due to concurrent needs to control infectious agents and diseases.