Life Sciences Facts: What Does A Drug Lifecycle Mean Exactly?

A drug’s lifecycle begins at the laboratory, where scientists must first discover or develop each drug. This trial-and-error process can take years. Once the initial testing has been completed, there are many other steps that it takes to get it to the market, so here is what it means and how it works.

1. Discovery and development

When a new drug is being developed, there are five distinct stages from discovery to market. First, scientists have to identify an unmet medical problem or need. Next, they formulate the best approach for treating this condition through research and development of multiple drugs. Then, these potential drugs go through pre-clinical testing in the laboratory. These trials happen on cells and with animal models until there is enough evidence about its safety, dosage, side effects and if it works without any problems before moving onto phase four clinical trials in humans where only small numbers of healthy volunteers participate in order to determine effectiveness and monitor side effects.  If none of these early tests reveal anything problematic, then the drug will be submitted for approval by regulatory authorities like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). There are also drug development consulting services that can help you with tests and FDA approval, as well as manufacturing services. Upon obtaining approval, the company can begin manufacturing and marketing its drug.

2. Pre-clinical testing 

The pre-clinical phase is when potential drugs are tested in cell systems and/or on animals for safety, dosage, side effects and to determine if it works without any problems or issues before moving onto testing in humans where only small numbers of healthy volunteers participate in order to determine effectiveness and monitor side effects. The goal of the pre-clinical stage is to develop enough evidence about how safe a particular compound is and whether it works as expected under ideal circumstances. These studies should be able to provide enough data so that researchers can design another experiment with more people, which will be better able to detect subtle or rare side effects.

3. Clinical trials 

The clinical trial period takes the longest because this is when most of the testing is done on humans, in order to determine if a drug works safely with acceptable side effects that are not too serious. During the clinical trial stage, researchers test how effective it is for one specific medical condition in comparison to another treatment currently being used for that same illness. Clinical trials involve three phases, which may take several years to complete. Phase I gives researchers information about safe dosage levels and what they can expect in terms of effectiveness in fighting specific medical conditions. Phase II trails focus on which dosages are most effective with fewer side effects, while phase III trails involve even larger numbers of people and last longer to collect information about a drug’s effectiveness.

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4.FDA approval 

Before a company can mass produce a new drug, they must first seek approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which ensures that new medications are safe and effective for their intended use as labeled. If approved, it then goes through what is called post-approval phase, where the marketing team helps publicize the benefits of using this new treatment option in order to both consumers and doctors who prescribe medicines. Whether you are taking certain supplements or a really serious medication, you need to be sure that the stuff you are taking is safe, and it works. The FDA often times has required the company to perform additional research after a product is on the market in order to continuously monitor its safety over time.

5. Next-generation drugs 

After the drug has been on the market for about 5 years, pharmaceutical companies must demonstrate that they continue to provide a benefit in order to keep their deal with the FDA. This is called post-marketing surveillance requirement, which aims to monitor any potential issues that may have emerged in comparison to other available therapies or if there are new types of side effects that could be occurring more often when taking this particular medication. If during the post-marketing surveillance stage, FDA finds problems with safety or effectiveness, they will issue a warning about how important it is for health care providers and patients to report any serious adverse reactions to their prescribing physician so appropriate action can be taken immediately.

6. The pill lifecycle ends 

Once a drug is “generic”, meaning it’s no longer under patent protection, it can be produced and sold by other companies. And the drug development cycle begins all over again with a new compound to test for safety and effectiveness. Newer drugs tend to have shorter life cycles than older medications because they fall under brand names while generics are used only after the patent expires on the original product, meaning that no one company or individual can exclusively benefit from it anymore, so competition is needed to lower prices for consumers.

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Why are all of this steps necessary when developing a new product?

The life cycle of a drug begins when the chemical is discovered in the laboratory, continues once it makes it to the human trial phase, and ends with its eventual withdrawal from the market or introduction of new medications. Each step in this process is necessary to ensure that drugs are safe and effective for people everywhere. Without proper research on animals and humans, pharmaceutical companies would not be able to introduce useful medication into markets or keep them available for use by society. If something goes wrong in between these steps, for instance, if clinical trials were incomplete at any point before approval-the public could be exposed to dangerous side effects without ever having known about them beforehand. The more steps involved with each product released onto markets, the safer they’ll ultimately be once they’re available for use by consumers everywhere.

Does the FDA approve everything?

The FDA does not have the power to approve a new drug. Rather, they must be persuaded that the benefits of using a new treatment option outweigh its risks before allowing it onto the market with an approval. However, there are some instances in which this process may fail and why the FDA’s role in pharmaceuticals is so important for consumer safety and well-being. For example, if a company fails to provide sufficient evidence that their medication is safe or effective for use with patients or if serious side effects occur with increasing frequency when taking medications over long periods of time, then the FDA will issue a public warning about what health care providers and patients should do when these issues arise. These steps help ensure that people everywhere can make informed decisions about what drugs to use for what purposes.


The pharmaceutical industry requires a great amount of effort and support from many people in order to develop drugs successfully. By following through with each step in the life cycle of a drug, it is possible to successfully bring new drugs onto the market. Being able to effectively provide people with necessary medications is the most important thing for patient quality of life and medical advancement.

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