According to Wikipedia, the pharmaceutical industry develops, produces, and markets drugs or pharmaceuticals licensed for use as medications. Pharmaceutical companies are allowed to deal in generic and/or brand medications and medical devices. They are subject to a variety of laws and regulations regarding the patenting, testing and ensuring safety and efficacy and marketing of drugs.
In the United States, new pharmaceutical products must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as being both safe and effective. This process generally involves submission of an Investigational new drug filing with sufficient pre-clinical data to support proceeding with human trials. Following IND approval, three phases of progressively larger human clinical trials may be conducted.
This whole, complex process of developing and marketing pharmaceuticals offers job opportunities in many fields, in addition to the expected chemistry and biology professionals.
The 2012 FORTUNE 500 list of the largest companies (by revenue) in the USA include these 12 companies in the pharmaceutical industry:
- Pfizer (# 40 in the 500)
- Johnson & Johnson (# 42)
- Merck (# 119)
- Abbott Laboratories (# 71)
- Eli Lilly (# 119)
- Birstol-Myers Squibb (# 134)
- Amgen (# 168)
- Gilead Sciences (# 306)
- Mylan (# 396)
- Allergan (#448)
- Biogen Idex (# 476)
- Celgene (# 492).
The medical industry is one of the strongest industries in the world, and, in the USA, as millions of Baby Boomers age, demand for more medical and pharmaceutical products continues to grow.
As the healthcare industry grows, the medical and pharmaceutical industries grow as well.