Last year, the FDA approved only 20 new drugs, down from 36 in 2004. But in 1996, the industry introduced 53 new drugs and debuted 30 or more in the three following years.
Insider's new best friend, Dr. Peter Rost, has already commented on this issue and noted some of Big Pharma's more dubious tactics.
Ernst & Young had added together the sales forecasts the drug industry had given to Wall Street and they told Big Pharma, "if you are going to meet those numbers, you need twice as many drugs as you have in your pipeline. Your stock is going to tank during the next ten years." .
So the news from those great guys at Tufts should be taken with this in mind.
A study was done by examining commercial databases on the "top 10" companies with the highest pharmaceutical sales in 2004. They were AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co., Novartis, Pfizer, Roche Holding, Sanofi-Aventis and Wyeth.
In the three years that ended in 2005, the companies placed an average of 84 drug candidates a year in clinical trials, up from the average of 55 in the five years that ended in 2002.
That sounds like good news, right?
It's just about half of what would be needed just to keep Big Pharma on an even keel.