Increasing R&D Spending per New Drug Approval

2014-02-20T01:05:14Z (GMT) by Daniel Himmelstein Sergio Baranzini

The cost of developing new drugs is increasing exponentially, doubling approximately every nine years since 1950. A shifted pharmaceutical paradigm embracing polypharmacology, systems biology, network pharmacology, and repurposing is needed to resuscitate economical drug approval. 

Calculated for 1-year periods, spending per drug represents the total pharmaceutical industry research and development expenditures divided by the number of FDA new drug approvals. Spending is inflation-adjusted to 2008 dollars. The top panel shows a fitted exponential growth model that is characterized by a doubling time of 9.44 years. The bottom panel shows the effect of log transforming spending per drug. The strong fit achieved by the simple regression model illustrates the appropriateness of the exponential growth model.

Data from supplementary information table S1 in: Scannell JW et al. (2012) Diagnosing the decline in pharmaceutical R&D efficiency. Nature Reviews Drug Discovery.