The Future Of Drugs

In an age in which so much of medical science is utterly incomprehensible--even to other scientists--it's comforting to remind ourselves from time to time that a lot of what passes for modern medicine is simply the refinement and repackaging of ancient remedies. Digitalis from foxglove. Opiates from poppies. Aspirin from the bark of willow trees. Even now, nearly 60% of the best-selling prescription drugs in America's pharmacies are based on compounds taken directly from Mother Nature's well-stocked armamentarium. It's as if there were a bright, healing thread running from the medicine bags of shamans and witch doctors to today's drugs for...

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