A senior executive at Europe’s largest drug maker has admitted most prescription medicines don’t work for most people, it is reported.
Allen Roses, of GlaxoSmithKline, is quoted in a national newspaper as saying more than 90% of drugs only work in 30-50% of people.
He said: “Drugs on the market work, but they don’t work in everybody.”
Mr Roses, an expert in genetics, said new developments should help tailor drugs more specifically.
At present, pharmaceutical companies adopt a “one-drug-fits-all” policy.
But Mr Roses said refinements in genetic technology should make it possible to identify more precisely those people who were likely to benefit from a drug.
He said: “By eliminating the people that we predict will be non-responders we’ll be able to do smaller, faster and cheaper drug trials.
“If you can determine who is going to have a response (to a drug) and who is not going to have a response, you can take your next molecule and aim it specifically at the people who haven’t had a response with the first one so that you can create a set of drugs that cover the population, and then you are back to selling to everybody.”