The Role Of Drug Delivery Devices In The Pharmaceutical IndustrySource:
By Iain Simpson, Associate Director, Global Medtech Practice, Cambridge Consultants
Conventional thinking in the pharmaceutical industry has generally been that the preferred option for the delivery of drugs is via the oral route. However, in recent years, there has been considerable growth in interest in alternative drug delivery device technology. While it is fair to say that much of this growth has arisen from an increase in the number of biologic drugs entering the market that are not orally available, other drivers are also emerging which suggest that demand for new delivery technologies will continue to increase.
In this series of columns, we will consider the growing role of drug delivery devices and discuss some of the trends and opportunities for this technology. It is a challenging time for the pharmaceutical industry to bring innovative drugs to the market and achieve their successful reimbursement, as a number of highly successful drugs become available as generics. In this first column, we will discuss how device technology fits into the current situation.
Although the origins of infusion and intravenous injection can be traced back at least until the 1670s, it was in the mid 1800s when the first fine needle syringes were invented that enabled delivery through the skin, and these began to be used for opiate delivery for pain management. These early devices were expensive to manufacture and hence normally reused, but the mid-1950s witnessed the first mass-produced disposable syringes, developed mainly for use in vaccination.