Setting the Record Straight on R&D

Setting the Record Straight on R&D

09.12.12 | By

In a blog post today, Pharmalot delves into various opinions on biopharmaceutical research and development (R&D) spending. While one of the authors of the recent British Medical Journal article continues to challenge such spending, we will once again reiterate that his assertions are plain wrong and paint a misleading picture of medical innovation.

PhRMA stands by its own data - which comes from our member companies and is proprietary - and we point to independent third party sources that underline the significant investments made by the biopharmaceutical sector in R&D.

But what is most unfortunate is that all of the flawed articles highlighted in the post miss the single most important point, which is that medicines developed by biopharmaceutical research companies have allowed millions of patients worldwide win their battle against disease. Life expectancy rates have gone up, cardiovascular, cancer and HIV/AIDS-related deaths have gone down and the search for treatments and cures for diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's are currently underway.

It is a shame that these great achievements in medical innovation have been overlooked.

Here are a few snippets of information that reinforce the fact that our industry is one of the most research intensive industries in the U.S.:

  • According to the National Science Foundation, the U.S. biopharmaceutical sector accounts for the single largest share of all U.S.business-funded R&D, representing nearly 20 percent of all domestic R&D funded by U.S. businesses.
  • "The pharmaceutical industry is one of the most research-intensive industries in the U.S. Pharmaceutical firms invest as much as five times more in research and development, relative to their sales, than the average U.S. manufacturing firm," according to the Congressional Budget Office.
  • U.S. biotech firms account for 80 percent of the world's biotechnology R&D, according to Burrill and Company.
  • Analysis by NDP Consulting found that the biopharmaceutical industry invested an annual average of more than $105,000 on research and development per direct employee - approximately ten times more than published estimates of average spend per employee in all manufacturing industries between 2000 and 2007.

If you missed our original response to the flawed BMJ article, you can find it here.

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