Nutraceutical Drug Discovery and Therapy

The R&D drive in the pharmaceutical sector is concentrated on development of new drugs, innovative/indigenous processes for known drugs and development of plant-based drugs through investigation of leads from the traditional systems of medicine. In addition, many nutraceuticals are being consumed in unregulated markets for perceived benefits in health care and improvement of quality of life. Natural pharmaceuticals (Naturaceuticals), nutraceuticals and cosmeceuticals are of excessive importance as a reservoir of chemical diversity aimed at new drug discovery and are explored for antimicrobial, cardiovascular, immunosuppressive and anticancer drugs.

Around 80% of all such products are of plant origin; their sales exceeded US$ 65billion in 2003. Examples of plant products and derivative s used by the pharmaceutical industry include paclitaxel, vincristine, vinblastine, artemisinin, camptothecin, podophyllotoxin, etc. The nutraceutical marketplace in Europe is estimated to be US$ 9 billion, while the US marketplace, estimated to be US$ 10–12 billion in 2003, is expanding at a compounded rate of more than 20% per year. The US Congress has powered the rapid growth of nutraceuticals with the passage of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) in 1994.

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