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Ciprofloxacin - Activity, Business Aspects/Bayer Pharmaceutical

antibiotics drug discovery forced

Ciprofloxacin is an antiobiotic active against both Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria. It works by inhibiting topoisomerase, therefore inhibiting the division of cells. A major negative effect seen, following the use of ciprofloxacin, is gastrointestinal upset, common with a number of antibiotics. Ciprofloxacin was used as a last resort on antibiotic-resistant infections. As with a number of antibiotics, increased usage has led to a number of ciprofloxacin-resistant infections, mostly in the setting of hospitals. Ciprofloxacin is used in the feed of farm animals because it leads to weight gain. Whether or not ciprofloxacin causes weight gain in humans has yet to be determined.

Business Aspects/Bayer Pharmaceutical

The discovery and cultivation of ciprofloxacin was considered to be groundbreaking in the area of new drug development. Because of the discovery, an entire new class of antibiotics opened up for more involved research and marketing. Even more striking, is the fact that no drug has come close to ciprofloxacin in effectiveness. The newer drugs developed by competing pharmaceutical companies have been forced to offer their drugs at a lower cost to have any hope of competing with ciprofloxacin. Encouraged by the large amount of success, not to mention the huge amount of cash, Bayer Pharmaceutical set out to reinvent itself from a small pharmaceutical company into a large player in the international pharmaceutical industry. This did not go as planned because of the tendency for doctors to prescribe antibiotics on the basis of lowest cost. The inability of Bayer Pharmaceutical to come up with another huge discovery, and a huge downturn in the international pharmaceutical business forced the company to downsize in 2000 and 2001. Bayer Pharmaceutical was faced with the immediate expiration of its patent rights to ciprofloxacin in the early years of the millenium. Bayer predicted a great loss of market share to the generic forms of ciprofloxacin. Bayer was forced to resort to the tried-and-true strategy of companies placed in this situation; focusing on the discovery and patenting of newer variations of the old drug. Some of these included: pediatric ciprofloxacin and once-daily ciprofloxacin. This allowed Bayer Pharmaceutical to extend its patent on the drug, at least for a short time. “Cipro” became well-known following the anthrax scare after the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Generic ciprofloxacin is readily available in several markets worldwide, including the United States. Two brand new one-a-day formulas have recently been launched in the United States. Bayer Pharmaceutical has also marketed an extended release formula of ciprofloxacin. Depomed, a rival pharmaceutical company, has developed a different formulation of the once daily antibiotics, which utilizes gastric juices to slow the amount of ciprofloxacin released into the blood at any one time.

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