Despite the emergence of novel life-science-based approaches to drug discovery and development and the unprecedented growth of new companies and research organizations competing in the healthcare sector, the industry continues to be dominated by the marketing of small-molecule ‘blockbuster’ therapies developed by large multinationals. The hope that ‘genomics’ would shift the focus from the treatment of symptoms associated with disease to the prevention or cure of many debilitating illnesses has yet to translate into reality. The question is whether traditional pharmaceutical companies simply prefer treatment to cure and, if so, where must society look to ensure that the best science is translated into the most innovative, effective and beneficial clinical products.

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