Drug delivery of the future: Chasing the invisible gorilla

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Abstract

For more than 60 years drug delivery systems have produced numerous controlled release formulations helping patients improve compliance and maximize the drug efficacy. Development of new controlled drug delivery systems was very productive during the period 1950–1980. The productivity, as measured by the number of clinically used formulations, dropped significantly during 1980–2010. This reduced productivity needs to be understood so that the future development of drug delivery systems can be accelerated and prolific again. This requires critical evaluation of the current drug delivery field, so that the factors inhibiting rapid progress can be identified and resolved. The current drug delivery field is faced with an invisible gorilla syndrome, i.e., seeing a gorilla when it is not present and missing a gorilla when it actually exists. Overcoming this syndrome requires a new way of thinking, questioning the status quo. Advances in drug delivery technologies occur by an evolutionary process, and thus, the more trials and errors lead to faster advances. The drug delivery area needs to nurture the environment where vastly different ideas can be tested, and all data, positive or negative, need to be exchanged freely as they have equal importance.

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