The Importance of the Pharmaceutical Industry

Explain the importance of the pharmaceutical industry in the late 19th and 20th centuries and it’s effect on the treatment of illness. (9marks) During the late 19th and 20th century many apothecaries (pharmacists) and herbalists were transforming family shops into chains of pharmacies (Boots). This made the pharmaceutical industry increase in importance from the late 19th century onwards as new discoveries were being made . The Pharmaceutical Industry grew hugely in importance in the late 19th and 20th century.
This was partly due to ‘preparations’ which were being made and researched and the use of pills in medicine was transformed when Brockedon invented a machine that made standardised pills. These ‘preparations’ were being marketed as being a cure for practically anything and came in the forms of potions, ointments and pills and were made from things such as coloured liquids, alcohol, lard and arsenic. These however didn’t seem to work and therefore could have been worsening the ill people or not helping the patients at all.
The effect of treatment for illnesses, like Infectious diseases were still being researched so there were no cures. Researchers worked on identifying disease germs and inventing vaccines or cures. Prevention, not drugs, was thought to be the future of medicine. During the 20th century the Pharmaceutical industries importance began to expand, and pharmacies/apothecaries were becoming increasingly popular and in demand. The Pharmaceutical industry actually began with textile dyes. In 1909, Paul Ehrlich invented salvarsan as a drug to cure syphilis.

He was inspired by the specific staining or non-staining of bacteria with dyes for microscopic study. He made hundreds of dyes with arsenic atoms attached; hoping that the dye would attach itself to a bacterium and the arsenic would kill it (‘magic bullet,). Compound No. 606, which they had originally dismissed, was a success and effective. Advances in medicine were slow until 1932. Domagk at the Bayer Company went through thousands of compounds that Bayer had made in discovering new dyes.
He found one, prontosil that cured streptococcus infections in mice. Also, in 1928, Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin. He and others realized the importance of drugs that could cure infections and infectious diseases. In conclusion, the importance of the pharmaceutical industry in the late 19th and 20th centuries became increasingly more important in everyday life as people started to depend on the medicines/drugs and how well it treated or seemed to treat the symptoms of illness.

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