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By means of increasingly more penetrating research efforts, the pharmaceutical industry is acquiring ever greater insight into disease and other adverse processes. This results in the discovery and development of drugs with more highly complex actions. This, together with a more stringent surveillance by government regulatory agencies, has increased the time required to develop a newly discovered entity from a few years in the 1950s and early 1960s to as much as 10–12 years at the present time. In cases where serendipitous discovery of new opportunities results in added dimensions for pursuit, the time required is even greater. The development of minoxidil as an agent to reverse androgenetic alopecia, now being concluded after 27 years, characterizes this more elaborate process.
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