A Prescription for Change

The Looming Crisis in Drug Development

By Michael Kinch

352 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, notes, index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-4757-9
    Published: March 2018
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-3063-2
    Published: October 2016
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-5272-4
    Published: October 2016

Luther H. Hodges Jr. and Luther H. Hodges Sr. Series on Business, Entrepreneurship, and Public Policy

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The introduction of new medicines has dramatically improved the quantity and quality of individual and public health while contributing trillions of dollars to the global economy. In spite of these past successes--and indeed because of them--our ability to deliver new medicines may be quickly coming to an end. Moving from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present, A Prescription for Change reveals how changing business strategies combined with scientific hubris have altered the way new medicines are discovered, with dire implications for both health and the economy.

To explain how we have arrived at this pivotal moment, Michael Kinch recounts the history of pharmaceutical and biotechnological advances in the twentieth century. Kinch relates stories of the individuals and organizations that built the modern infrastructure that supports the development of innovative new medicines. He shows that an accelerating cycle of acquisition and downsizing is cannibalizing that infrastructure Kinch demonstrates the dismantling of the pharmaceutical and biotechnological research and development enterprises could also provide opportunities to innovate new models that sustain and expand the introduction of newer and better breakthrough medicines in the years to come.

About the Author

Michael Kinch is Associate Vice Chancellor and Director of the Center for Research Innovation in Biotechnology at Washington University in St. Louis.
For more information about Michael Kinch, visit the Author Page.


“Traces the history of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries and describes the evolution of the scientific, regulatory, social, and marketing forces that are compromising contemporary drug developments . . . . Well explained and illustrated with useful anecdotes.”--Science Magazine

“An informative and fascinating read for anyone with an interest in the drug discovery process, scientists, healthcare professionals, investors, regulators, or those who just want to see our economy flourish and public health to be improved for the global benefit to society or just to protect an individual 401K plan. . . . Highly recommend this well-written book as a must read for anyone with the slightest interest in how the drug discovery process impacts our economy and public health.”--Doody’s Reviews

“Begins with the history of drug development from ancient times up to 2016. . . . Packs in detail, but keeps it readable.”--Compression

“A thorough review of the history of the development of every drug to receive FDA approval. . . . [Kinch] brings to this book many decades of research and harrowing personal experience with pharma.”--EurekAlert!

“A cogent and comprehensive view of where the drug industry is today and how it got there.”--Health Affairs

“This compelling and thoughtful book provides a unique perspective and critical analysis of the pharmaceutical industry and its mode of expansion.”--Ronald Goldfarb, Sopherion Therapeutics

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