GBI Research Release: Headache for Pharma as R&D Spending Climbs While Number of Approved Molecules Falls

Published: Sep 04, 2012

NEW YORK (GBI Research), 4 September 2012 - Low research and development (R&D) productivity, combined with the patent cliff and a stringent US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval process, is resulting in climbing expenditure without the corresponding output, states the latest report from industry experts GBI Research.

The company’s new report* says that, despite efforts made by pharmaceutical firms to cut down on costs, R&D expenditure expanded at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 6% from $26 billion in 2000 to $50 billion by the end of 2011. Conversely, the number of new molecular entities (NME) approved during this same period has dropped on average, decreasing at a CAGR of 1%.

R&D is a core and integral part of the pharmaceutical industry, but poor productivity means there may soon be a drought in the R&D pipeline. GBI Research estimates that currently as much as 55% of the entire late stage pipeline is made up of life cycle management (LCM) projects, while a 28% share of the industry’s top 20 companies’ pipelines is devoted to LCM research.

To compound the frustrations of the industry, the FDA has adopted a stricter drug approval policy. Following controversies regarding products such as Vioxx and Exubera, as well as product recalls for ‘Made in China’ drugs, the agency has been more cautious in analyzing the risks and benefits of drugs before approving them, slowing down or cutting out potentially marketable treatments.

Additionally, the patent cliff has damaged company revenues, severely curbing the selling power of blockbuster medications and opening the market to generics. The reduction in NME approvals has meant the big pharmaceutical firms are less able to offset the loss of revenue resulting from patent expirations, with new drugs offering therapeutic superiority to the generic versions of their predecessors.

* Accelerating Drugs to Market - Despite Challenges, Adaptive Clinical Trials Reduce Drug Development Costs and Time to Market

In this report, GBI Research has studied various hurdles at different stages of drug development that can halt a drug’s progress. The report provides detailed information about the need for accelerated drug development.

This report was built using data and information sourced from proprietary databases, primary and secondary research, and in-house analysis conducted by GBI Research’s team of industry experts.


GBI Research is a market-leading provider of business intelligence reports, offering actionable data and forecasts based on the insights of key industry leaders to ensure you stay up-to-date with the latest emerging trends in your markets.

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