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Steroid path 5

To produce cortisone, the chemist needs only modify the hydroxyl group in hydrocortisone using another oxidation reaction. When it was first isolated from animals, cortisone—which is used to treat ailments such as rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and hepatitis—cost about $100 a gram. But after chemists determined how to make it from the Mexican yam, production increased, prices dropped, and the drug became widely available.

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