As reported on the Guardian website, drugs launched in the last five years account for just 7 per cent of sales from the big pharmaceutical companies.
According to a report by CMR International, the majority of sales from the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies stem from an ageing portfolio of products. This could be due to the patent cliff – meaning that generic drug makers are allowed to produce cheaper versions of the drugs once they have come off patent.
Not only this, but there has been an increase in the number of drug failing in late-stage testing. Infact, the number of products scrapped after reaching final stage of drug development between 2007 and 2009, compared to 2004-2006 has doubled. This decline in success rates has taken its toll on productivity within the pharmaceutical industry.
In order to tackle this, some of the larger pharmaceutical companies are purchasing new medicines from smaller pharmaceutical companies and then teaming up with competitors in a bid to develop new treatments. For example, the pharmaceutical giant, AstraZeneca has undertaken a 50-50 venture with Bristol-Myers Squibb for two new diabetes drugs.
The report by CMR International also found that spending on R&D in the pharmaceutical industry declined by 0.3 per cent last year. This followed a 6.6 per cent drop in 2008.
Anti-cancer drugs, Alzeihmers and diabetes drugs are receiving the most investment.
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