The article discusses the involvement of pharmaceutical companies in the development of new drugs and therapies. The analysis shows that eight of the world's 10 best-selling pharmaceuticals have originated in the United States, and two have been developed in Western Europe. Innovative brand-name drugs accounted for only 15 percent of the new pharmaceuticals registered in the United States in 1989-2000. All the other pharmaceuticals were generic drugs and modifications of pharmaceuticals already available on the market. Taxpayers and research institutes cover 85 percent of the costs of research into the development of new treatments. The role of generic drugs is growing - chiefly because of their more affordable prices compared with those of patented drugs. Not only private consumers, but also public sector institutions obligated to provide health services to citizens, have appreciated the attractiveness of generic drugs. After Poland's accession to the European Union on May 1, 2004, Polish pharmaceutical producers have gained new opportunities to increase their competitive position. However, Poland is still far behind highly industrialized countries in the level of expenditure on research into the development of new pharmaceuticals and therapies. This means that decision makers in Poland must work to upgrade the legal system and encourage businesses to focus on pharmaceutical research, the authoress concludes.
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