Humer That in the next 5 to 10 years, we will give him the ability to select drugs that work better and faster, so that he can get back on his feet more quickly with fewer side effects. We know today that there are many drugs that work only in 60 or 70 percent of the patients who take them. But we don't know which are the correct 60 percent. We will be able to identify the right patients. This is an enormous change. This will also make treatment in the end much less expensive, because we will no longer need to pay to treat patients with inappropriate drugs.

American Way Do you think it's realistic that within, let's say five years, when your doctor says you have high cholesterol, you then undergo a test that determines which of the five cholesterol drugs available will work for you?

Humer That could very well be possible. Some of the tests we're currently discussing with the FDA are leading in that direction. Some of the experiments we are doing, and also those other companies are doing, are leading in that direction. Now will it all happen in five years? In some cases, we may find new hurdles of complexity that we haven't anticipated, but no doubt that is the direction medicine is going.

American Way You make an excellent point, too, that people don't factor in the cost of ineffective drugs. People talk about the negative effects some drugs can have, but few people talk about drugs that simply don't work. Is today's prescribing an imprecise process that hasn't changed since Hippocrates?

Humer In a lot of ways it hasn't and in a lot of ways it has. Physicians today are much better informed. We know more, but we certainly don't know all there is. Look at cancer. We have made huge steps, but we haven't [conquered] it yet. And that's what this industry is about. Not to give up, but to keep striving to improve the health of individuals and thereby improve the health of mankind. As you said before, picture your neighbor on a plane. We will improve his quality of life. And we have. We've consistently done it over the last 30 years.