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The Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act of 1984, better known as the Hatch-Waxman Act, which enabled the regulatory process for generic drugs, has been remarkably successful. Generic drugs now represent about 90% of prescriptions, bringing substantial cost savings to the health care system.

The inventory of drug targets known to be modulated by generics has more than doubled over the past 20 years and is expected to reach somewhere between 250 and 450 drug classes (depending on precise target definition) by 2030, according to an analysis we conducted using PharmaProject and DrugBank databases.


That means translational researchers have at their disposal a powerful toolbox of now-generic compounds they can mix and match to modulate disease pathways. Together with the maturation of systems biology and quantitative pharmacology, there are steadily increasing opportunities to manipulate disease states in a targeted fashion using existing agents.

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