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  The Viagra™ story
            1. Lifecycle of a medicine
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Photo of scientists in lab
Picture 2. A research team working on a molecule.
Developing a new medicine

Developing a new medicine is a long and expensive process. The Viagra™ story started as long ago as 1985. Roll over the segments on the chart to see more information about its life.

Timeline graphic of phases with roll overs
Timeline for the development of Viagra™. Roll over each stage to find out more. You can see the full text version here.
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Photo of screening on a computer
Picture 3. A scientist wears special spectacles that allow him to screen a molecule in 3 dimensions.
Screening
To develop one successful medicine, the scientists screened over 1 500 compounds and spent an estimated £600 million (at today's prices). It took 13 years to bring Viagra™ from conception to production. This level of investment is needed for research, development and to prove that the new medicine is safe and effective.
In your lifetime

Viagra™ was probably developed partly in your lifetime. You can see how long it has taken to develop in comparison with your birthdays (you will need cookies turned on in your browser).

Choose the date of your birth from the list below.

the year of your birth.    
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Question 1
Look at each of the questions below and choose the best answer from the drop down list.
a) You could complete a university degree in the time that Viagra™ clinical trials lasted.
b) The research that led to Viagra™ started in 1985. Which one took the longest to develop?
c) If you started school at the same time as the Viagra™ programme started (1985), what stage would you be at when the first prescription was made?