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Half a century ago, in the drug industry's golden era, we were bestowed with countless pills to lower blood pressure, control blood sugar and get rid of infections. But today it costs about $1bn to bring a new medicine to market, a process that can take 15 years.The industry faces multiple crises as budgets are squeezed and tough scientific challenges loom. Academics and patients' groups are concerned we will not have the drugs necessary to treat future ills.Last year, the World Health Organization's director general, Margaret Chan, warned that the world was heading for a "post-antibiotic era". She raised fears that many common infections might no longer have a cure and could once again "kill unabated".