In recent months, there has been a good deal of discussion about R&D productivity, with references, for example, to a slight decline in the average number of new medicines approved by the FDA in recent years.
This, of course, is at a time when we continue to see record investment in R&D, with America's biopharmaceutical research companies last year investing $67.4 billion in the discovery and development of new medicines.
Laura Woodin at AstraZeneca directed my attention to her blog post over at AZ Health Connections. In her post
, she discusses an article in Nature Review Drug Discovery that found " 'an increasing concentration of R&D investments in areas in which the risk of failure is high, which correspond to unmet therapeutic needs and unexploited biological mechanisms.'" This attention to taking a chance on unmet medical needs, in turn, has led to a decline in new medicines despite an increase in investment - NOT, as some critics would have people believe, a lack of commitment on the part of companies.
It's interesting to read her thoughts, from a company perspective, rather than mine. She writes: "We must continue to push the boundaries of science to find new medicines that make a difference for the people who need them."