5 ideas for streamlining the way we test pharmaceuticals

Originally posted on TED Blog:

The way we test new drugs is broken, says Susan Solomon at TEDGlobal 2012. Here, more speakers with ideas for fixing it. Photo: James Duncan Davidson

The way we test new drugs is broken, says Susan Solomon at TEDGlobal 2012. Below, several more speakers with ideas for fixing this system. Photo: James Duncan Davidson

The process for testing new drugs is clunky at best. As Susan Solomon reveals in her TED Talk, drug discovery on average takes 13 years, costs $4 billion, and has a 99% failure rate. Drugs are tested in the lab, then in animals, then in human trials that often aren’t big enough to be conclusive. (Human beings have a near infinite number of differences — a truly amazing thing, until different bodies start reacting in unpredictable ways to the same treatment.) As Roger Stein shares in his TED Talk, because of the incredible challenges inherent in this system, about 20 years of life-saving drugs sit in labs, untested.

Many TED speakers have shared intriguing ideas for streamlining, improving and rethinking…

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