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Fifty years of independent expert advice on prescription medicines
Fifty years of medicines
In the past fifty years our knowledge of medicine has increased exponentially, with technological advances that have allowed new and different types of medicine. With each new development, members of ADEC, and later ACPM, have needed to be at the cutting edge of medical practice.
Medicines are no longer restricted to being small chemically synthesised molecules. Monoclonal antibodies (with names ending in 'mab') can now be designed and produced to target many diseases that were previously difficult to treat effectively, such as cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.
And with the success of penicillin and vaccines, many of the mass killers are no longer the threats they once were (although antibiotic resistance is becoming an ever bigger problem). Instead, medicines are being developed to treat emerging viral diseases, and more emphasis is placed on better therapies for cancer and preventing and treating lifestyle diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Insulin is life-saving for the 122,000 Australians with type 1 diabetes (JDRF website, 2013), and is also used in a similar number of Australians with type 2 diabetes (about 10% of the type 2 diabetes population).
In 1963, when ADEC began, insulin isolated from pig and cow pancreases had been in use for several decades, with various chemical modifications creating long-acting insulins. Over the years, insulins became a recurring feature of ADEC meetings, as new advances led to new insulin medicines.
|1974||higher purity pig insulin (mono-component insulin)|
|1978||recommended replacing the two available strengths of insulin with a single strength, 100 U/mL, to make dose calculations easier.|
|1984||insulin with the same structure as human insulin, but synthesised from pig insulin (human monocomponent insulin).|
|1985||human insulin produced using bacteria and recombinant DNA technology—the first medicine to be produced in this way.|
|1986||concern over the number of insulin products containing a fixed combination of short-acting and longacting insulins. Later (1990) recommended restricting ratios to 50:50 and 30:70 to avoid confusion.|
|1989||ADEC insisted on the pharmaceutical company conducting an educational program when pig insulin was withdrawn from the Australian market for commercial reasons.|
|1995||first human insulin analogue (insulin lispro) that had a rapid onset of action, useful for administration close to meal times.|
|2001||insulin solution (insulin aspart, NovoRapid) to be administered using continuous subcutaneous infusion with a pump: ADEC emphasised that only TGA-authorised pumps to be used.|
|2002-2008||extensions of indications supported for various insulin analogues, both for use in children and for type 2 diabetes.|