What you'll learn
- Key controversies over how prescription drugs are developed and marketed, and why those controversies exist
- The FDA — its history, public health role, and rules affecting the US prescription drug market
- The process of discovering, testing, and approving innovative drugs, including various perspectives on the criteria used for drug approval
- The cost of prescription drugs, including the factors affecting a drug’s market exclusivity period and the availability and use of affordable generic drugs
- Safety evaluation of prescription drugs using “real world” data
- Current debates over the scope of FDA regulation, such as dietary supplements, different special classes of prescription drugs, and “right to try” laws relating to experimental drugs with limited testing
Prescription drugs are among the most common health care interventions and have turned many once-fatal diseases into manageable conditions — but they have also been a growing source of controversy. Patients and physicians in the US struggle with increasing costs and express concerns about why certain conditions like Alzheimer’s disease remain without therapeutic options.
At the center of these debates lies the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a federal agency responsible for monitoring the prescription drug marketplace and enforcing basic rules and laws that affect how prescription drugs are discovered, developed, and sold.
In this course, we will investigate the major issues affecting the regulatory approval and evidence-based use of prescription drugs. You will understand the rules and regulations related to the pricing, marketing, and safety monitoring of approved prescription drugs and the importance of the FDA in regulating the pharmaceutical market.
- Overview and history of the FDA
- Drug development and approval
- Drug pricing in the United States
- Marketing strategies
- Post-approval evaluation
- Emerging medical technologies
Harvard Medical School
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