A pharmaceutical drug (medicine or medication and officially medicinal product) is any chemical substance formulated or compounded as single active ingredient or in combination of other pharmacologically active substance, it may be in a separate but packed in a single unit pack as combination product intended for internal, or external or for use in the medical diagnosis, cure, treatment, or prevention of disease.
Medications are classified in various ways. One of the key divisions is between traditional small molecule drugs, usually derived from chemical synthesis, and biopharmaceuticals, which include recombinant proteins, vaccines, blood products used therapeutically (such as IVIG), gene therapy, and cell therapy (for instance, stem cell therapies).
Pharmaceuticals are classified in various other groups besides their origin on the basis of pharmacological properties like mode of action and their pharmacological action or activity, route of administration, biological system affected, or therapeutic effects. An elaborate and widely used classification system is the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Classification System (ATC system). The World Health Organization keeps a list of essential medicines.
Drug discovery and drug development are complex and expensive endeavors undertaken by companies, academic scientists, and governments. Governments generally regulate what drugs can be marketed, how drugs are marketed, and in some jurisdictions, drug pricing. Controversies have arisen over drug pricing and disposal of used drugs.