Improved molecular-based detection of early epithelial cancer creates an opportunity for selective pharmacologic agents to arrest the development of emerging cancers. Developing a successful prevention approach to cancer control could eventually lead to a significant decline in cancer mortality rates; progress depends on the amount of resources committed to this area. Most major prevention trials are federally supported due to their size, duration, and cost. Much of the initial developmental cost for advanced cancer treatment agents was supported by the pharmaceutical industry. Developing a cancer treatment agent is perceived as more clearly defined and achievable than for prevention agents. Preliminary discussions with representatives of the pharmaceutical and biotech industry have identified a number of barriers to chemoprevention product development. Researchers agree that a number of promising agents are being passed over for expeditious development due to the uncertainty associated with chemoprevention drug development. The major factors affecting this circumstance are considered, including cost of clinical trials, absence of a positive model, and inability to project liability exposure. Similar problems were encountered in the area of childhood vaccine development. Insights from that process may have applicability to prevention drug development. Resolving these problems now can have a significant effect on the rate of progress in this promising new approach to cancer control.