Why the World Looks to the U.S. for the Most Elusive Cures

Research and development is the backbone of the biopharma industry, and the reason why we've seen more than 450 new medicines approved in the U.S. since 2000.

Headshot of Robert Zirkelbach
Robert ZirkelbachFebruary 3, 2015

Research and development (R&D) is the backbone of the biopharmaceutical industry and the reason why we have seen more than 450 new medicines approved in the U.S. since 2000 to help fight cancer, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, and other debilitating diseases.  However, the money and time invested by manufacturers to bring these medicines to market cannot be overlooked.

Government research plays an integral role in laying the groundwork for drug development, but biopharmaceutical companies conduct the vast majority of R&D to bring new medicines to patients and bear the associated costs.  In fact, the biopharmaceutical sector spends more on R&D than the entire National Institutes of Health operating budget, with PhRMA member companies investing more than $50 billion in 2013 and over half a trillion dollars since 2000. This investment not only fosters medicines through the long and complex development process, but also supports a total of about 3.4 million jobs across the country, including approximately 810,000 direct jobs.

That’s why it is imperative that our nation’s policies promote continued investment in R&D – at both the company level and through funding to academic medical research centers and other partners.   These policies, combined with our efforts to eliminate fraud and abuse in the health care system and improve the development process, will support the next generation of life-saving medicines.  With more than 7,000 medicines in development worldwide, there’s no time to waste.

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