Monday, 17 September 2012

In the Mist of Drugs

A research from India takes a closer look at what our medicine cabinet is made of, with the help of network analysis.
It is a well-known phenomenon, that the demand on medicine increases year to year (the market produces an annual growth of 6%!). The industry has an income sum of 800 billion dollars per year, with India and China as the fastest growing markets, and an annual increase in demand over 15%. The top consumers are of course overseas. The Americans with their 320 billion dollar annual drug spending are responsible for more than one third of the industries income, a sum about three times larger than in Germany. Its hardly a coincident, that the number prescription drug abuse victims is growing as well. Last year only, about 27.000 people died prescription medicine related deaths, one in every 19 minutes. Livestock drugs are pretty common too, since factory farming procedures require to use antibiotics on animals.
The goal of the research was to understand drug consumption from a network point of view, and to learn what drugs consist of. American drug label databases served as sources of information, making over 70 thousand chemicals subjects of the analysis.

The picture above shows the whole network of ingredients, with 16,444 dots and 32,627 edges. You can notice at first sight, that clustering is present. the most common chemicals include Octinoxate, Titaniumdioxide, Octisalate, Oxybenzone and Avobenzone, that are ingredients in drugs and chemicals, sometimes even food colouring materials. Another center point is Triclozan, a commonly used antibacterial and antifungus chemical.

Alcohol is number 3 in the centrailty top 10.For more cool pictures and the top10 check out the original aricle at Web 2.0.