Historical, Ethical, and Chemical Perspectives of Rational Drug Design

Date of Award

Spring 2015

Thesis Type

Rollins Access Only

Degree Name

Honors Bachelor of Arts




Dr. Laurel Habgood

Committee Member

Dr. Eric Smaw

Committee Member

Dr. Ellane Park; Dr. James Patrone


With the underlying purpose of pharmaceutical drugs to heal or manage the lives of consumers, it was necessary to address the issue of the high price of various types of treatment that causes many patients to struggle to afford basic living needs as they fight for better quality of life or a longer life. This project sought a well-rounded, all-encompassing, evidence-based answer to why drugs in the United States are so expensive to the consumer. The process behind drug development, the costs incurred by the pharmaceutical industry, and the ethics of drug pricing practices were evaluated in order to support that all of these factors affect the prices of pharmaceutical prescription medications today. In Part 1, the drug discovery and development process was outlined from beginning to end, defining and describing patent protection, preclinical research, clinical trial testing, and FDA approval. Next, the costs associated with pharmaceutical research and development were addressed, in order to assess the claim by pharmaceutical companies that drug prices are high to recuperate from research and development (R&D) investment. Briefly, the difference in price and utilization of generic forms of a drug in the oncology setting were discussed. Next, the pharmaceutical industry was classified according to specific industry classification standards, which defined the standards that must be upheld by pharmaceutical companies. Ultimately, the ethics behind drug pricing were evaluated on the basis of the fundamental principles of medical ethics: benevolence and nonmaleficence, suggesting that pharmaceutical pricing is unethical. Part 2 built off of the R&D discussion to represent a practical example of the intellectual challenge associated with pharmaceutical research. In this section, the first total paper syntheses were proposed for two natural products that have been shown to display anticancer effects.

Rights Holder

Megan Paige Single

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