The History of Today’s Prescription Drug Industry:
The current incarnation of American pharmaceutical manufacturing is a new phenomenon. Historically, new medicines have been developed by government-funded scientists working at large research universities and institutions. In 1968, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) expanded the ability of universities and other nonprofits to patent and claim a monopoly over the drugs created through NIH-funded research. The ability to privately patent drugs created via public funding was expanded to private contractors in the early 1980s and the restrictions on private drug manufacturers were lessened further under Presidents Reagan, Bush, Sr. and Clinton. The modern version of the drug industry became a full reality in the mid-1990s, which is when prices started to climb.