The Big Picture in Drug Development

A look at the drug development process, costs

PhRMA StaffFebruary 14, 2011

We at PhRMA often talk about the drug development process: it typically starts with many thousands of compounds in the discovery phase, whittled down to five that make it to clinical trials, one of which will eventually gain FDA approval - and only two out of those 10 will ever recoup the average investment in R&D required to develop the drug and secure that regulatory approval.

We talk about how long it takes and how expensive the R&D process is - an average of $1.3 billion and 10 to 15 years.

We talk about the researchers and how they turn an idea into a product that may save lives.

And we talk about the huge emphasis on safety and efficacy that is the hallmark of drug development.

However, amidst all of that talk, it can be hard to really get a handle on what goes into the process. We think our animated drug discovery timeline really helps capture the big picture.

Still, no one knows the process better than the researchers who live it. Check back to PhRMA's YouTube video channel often for new videos about and featuring biopharmaceutical sector researchers, and visit some of the biopharmaceutical research company blogs on the blogroll for more features. We can use all the words we want, but the ones that matter most are their words.

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