Industry Perspectives and the Contributions of Pharmacoepidemiology to Public Health
Pharmaceutical companies have been a major factor in improving public health through their development and distribution of pharmaceutical products. To continue to do this, however, the industry must remain economically viable, and this is achieved through the selling of its products for profit. Thus, the substantial expenditures devoted to research and development as well as to drug safety evaluation must be supported by a profitably conducted business. Many factors affect the sales of pharmaceuticals, but the most important of these are the safety and efficacy of the products themselves. However, since virtually nothing is absolutely safe and/or effective, these are terms of art which must be determined within a rational scientific framework. Pharmacoepidemiology can address the needs of both the industry and public health. Epidemiologic methods can be used to evaluate health needs. Knowledge of whether a disease frequency is increasing or decreasing with time helps the pharmaceutical company in positioning its drug in the marketplace.