University Federico II
of Naples, Italy
European Chemistry
Thematic Network
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New drugs

1983 - 1994

Natural Drugs
Modified Natural Drugs
Synthetic Drugs based on Natural Models
Synthetic Drugs

An enormous number of drugs have been made available by scientific research. They make a substantial contribution to our well-being. We can treat the majority of diseases, sometimes fully healing, sometimes alleviating their symptoms and their progress. Drugs enable to abolish physical pain and undergo surgical procedures, to replace missing or defective body functions and restore a normal life for people that would otherwise live a short and uncomfortable time.

The great number of easily available drugs puts, however, a definite risk of drug abuse. Even when properly used under careful medical guidance, drugs entail some risks anyway: contraindications, side effects, unexpected reactions. We must be aware that, whenever we take a drug, we are taking a chance for risk, which is balanced by the expected benefits. Summing up costs and benefits, drugs are an extraordinary resource we cannot do without.

The role of chemists is central in discovery and development of new drugs.

There are natural drugs and synthetic drugs. As seen in the figure, 41% of all new drugs that have been cleared for use from 1983 to 1994, are related in some way to natural sources.