The pharmaceutical industry in America is actually a relatively new industry. Just one hundred and fifty years ago, aspirin didn’t exist, almost all medicines were served locally and without prescription, and cocaine was being prescribed for toothaches. Seriously. You can’t make this stuff up.
Today, the pharmaceutical industry employs more than eight-hundred thousand Americans and adds a whopping $790 billion dollars to the United States Economy. What was once a nascent and unregulated industry is now transforming and developing in ways many consumers simply aren’t aware of.
Here are just five ways that the pharmaceutical industry is developing and adapting to the 21st century:
1. Genome Sequencing
Medicine of the past focused on creating catch-all cures for common ailments and pains. If you were experiencing certain symptoms, you would be prescribed a certain medicine or drug to take alleviate yourself.
Enter genomics-the science of structuring and mapping your own DNA. Instead of being prescribed medicine that’s one size fits all, pharmaceutical companies are beginning to create products that allow customers to map and sequence their individual DNA structure.
Your DNA contains valuable information pertinently tied to your well-being and health. If customers were to be able to release this information to doctors, practitioners would be able to better treat illnesses and ailments by prescribing tailor-made drugs to match your DNA’s needs.
This isn’t wishful thinking. In fact, kits are available today that will test your DNA for over seventeen hundred diseases. While these kits are still far too expensive for the regular consumer to purchase today, it is only a matter of time before genome sequencing becomes a genuine option for the modern consumer.
2. 3D Printing
3D Printing seems to be the latest buzzword in developing technologies. Whether it be the idea of 3D printing small desk trinkets or possibly the threat of 3D piracy, the relatively new technology has been applied to many industries as a means of innovation and development.
As futuristic as it sounds, using 3D printing for healthcare isn’t exactly anything new. Custom-fitting Invisalign braces are 3D printed in the tens of thousands  on a daily basis. What is new, however, is 3D printing of personalized medicine.
Scientists are theorizing that-someday soon-technology will enable doctors and medical professionals to prescribe a specific amount of a drug that is altered from the commonly acceptable doses.
So, if your body needs more or less than the amount commonly given to everyone else, doctors could simply set up their machines to input the correct amount into medicine, and sent that medicine home with you for consumption.
This amount could be custom-printed onto the pills, with the new pills being able to treat even a variety of ailments simultaneously.
3. Computer Processing
It’s no secret to anyone that our world is more interconnected than ever before-and the size of your online footprint increases every day. Aside from the privacy worries many people have about their online data, the pharmaceutical industry plans to take advantage of the information already available for the betterment of everyone.
Supercomputers today are able to analyze and draw conclusions on information that’s simply too vast for regular scientists to understand. By using that raw processing power, scientists are able to search for new ways to discover and treat ailments.
Remember genomes from earlier on our list? That information could be potentially vital to scientists looking to find more efficient and effective ways to treat ailments and illnesses. And supercomputers are a crucial piece to the puzzle.
4. Robotics and Microchips
Perhaps one of the most well-known and often-feared development in the pharmaceutical industry is the development of the microchip.
Having bionics implanted into patients has many applications-from better understanding the symptoms that a patient is feeling, to discovering if that a patient isn’t taking their medication in the first place.
Developments are also being made in the world of nano-technologies. Soon, it may be possible to release small, disease-detecting robots into a patient’s bloodstream. It is often said that when a disease is discovered in a patient radically effects how it is treated. By using this technology to discover diseases early on in their development, doctors can find more effective ways to treat diseases.
Many of these new technologies are years or even decades from becoming commonplace. But if you’re looking for customized technology that you can access today, you might want to look into the last development on our list:
5. On-Demand Pharmaceuticals
The growing demands of an increasingly busy populace has opened the market up for more and more ways to automate trivial aspects of our lives. One of these developments has been the ability for customers to order their prescriptions delivered to their home. Such a serve isn’t anything new. However, it has never been easier and cheaper to do so.
Pharmacies are realizing that customers want their medicine quickly and right when they need it-not days laters. And luckily for them, those demands aren’t going unanswered.
If you live in a metropolitan area, pharmacies are developing phone apps to allow you to schedule the delivery of your products right when you need them-not after. Looking for prescription delivery? Companies like Medly Pharmacy offer free, same-day delivery of prescription medication. With modern technology, it’s never been easier to receive the medication you need. Or more cost-efficient.
While many of the developments on our list seem more like science fiction than science fact, the truth is that the pharmaceutical industry is transforming itself to better fit the demands of a more modern world.
It’s crazy to think that an industry that had little more to offer than herbs and apothecaries in the past could now study our DNA to better provide for us, 3D print new pills tailor-made for our needs, or even to simply make it easier to get our pills on time.
But the developments have started, and they won’t be stopping anytime soon.
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