At some point, we have all taken them. Perhaps we suffer an injury that requires specific pain medicines that are stronger than our over-the-counter options. Or we visit the doctor and learn that we are a little deficient with Vitamin C. So, we trot off to the nearest drug store and either get a prescription filled or we seek out supplements to improve our health. But while we stand at checkout, have we really thought about what it takes to create such a drug, or supplement, that helps us live longer and healthier lives?
The Road to a Prescription
Creating a new drug always starts with research. In short, a pharmaceutical company targets a specific disease or a specific aspect of a disease and begins studying what works and doesn’t work in the fight for healthy living. This usually leads to a drug discovery and pre-clinical studies. This type of research can take years, even decades to find the right combination of synthetics that help us battle disease and illness. Once the drug has been found, it must go through three clinical trials to be in compliance with the FDA. Each clinical study involves human test subjects and if the study fails, it must start over after further research. Phase 1 covers safety and dosage, Phase 2 studies side effects and efficacy, and Phase 3 reviews efficacy and monitoring the adverse effects. All the trials take years to conduct. After all this work has taken place, it is then sent to the FDA to be approved.
It doesn’t stop there, though. Pharmaceutical companies must transport the medicines to various pharmacies across the country and often import and export. Many prescription medications must be stored in specific temperatures before, during, and after transportation. FDA and other organizations do their best to create guidelines to ensure the quality of the medicines are not compromised, but it can still be quite difficult for pharmaceutical companies to handle those issues. This is where companies such as PBMMI, Pacific Bio-Material Management Incorporated, come in. Having transportation companies devoted to securing the transportation is extremely beneficial to the pharmaceutical companies and the people who will need the medicines.
Supplements are Easier
Supplements do not endure the same rigorous approval process like prescriptions. A manufacturer can spend significantly less time developing their product and are not required to go through the many years of clinical trials to prove the safety or effectiveness of the product. Supplements are very different from prescription medicines and below is a listing of their differences.
· Do not require a doctor to write a prescription for it
· Available over the counter
· Not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any diseases
· Manufacturers and distributors are responsible for the safety of the supplement prior to their release into the market
· Are controlled substances a doctor must write the prescription for
· Must be FDA approved for safety and effectiveness
· Intended to treat, cure, or prevent diseases
Is There a Benefit to Supplements?
Yes! Although the FDA treats supplements very differently, they are still quite beneficial in supporting good health. We all lead hectic and busy lives. Combine that with our foods now lacking the vitamin and nutrients we need to maintain a healthy system, adding supplements to your diet is an added boost to supporting your body the best way you can. Additionally, older folks should talk with their health professional to see if supplements will help them with the aging process.
Understanding is Empowerment
Overall, many of us forget how precious supplements and prescription meds are for us. It’s easy to forget when all we must do is walk into a pharmacy with a prescription in hand and instantly receive what we need. And if we find ourselves lacking a vitamin, we can find a supplement at any big box store or drug store and help ourselves quickly. Knowing just what it takes to get those medicines on the shelves is important.
Nora Charles is a freelance writer that has worked with many bloggers for several years now.