Stanford Social Innovation Review

April 8, 2016

By Bruce Bloom

Around 500 million people globally suffer from one of 7,000 diseases that lack a known,
effective treatment. But new drugs developed by the pharmaceutical industry address only 10
to 30 additional diseases each year. At this rate, it would take between 250 and 700 years to
find treatments for them all!


Fortunately, new drugs are not the only answer. We can also test the clinical benefits of drugs
already approved for human use for one disease for the treatment of other diseases. In this
way, we could quickly repurpose thousands of cheap and widely available generic drugs to
create “new” treatments for diseases that currently lack remedies.

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