Running Out Of New Drugs to Take

28 Aug

In 2012, the US employed around 650,000 people whose total costs were an average of $74,615 to research and develop new drugs. The average cost to develop a new drug is now over $1.2B, if you include the ones that don’t make it to market.


There are fewer and fewer success stories in the development of marketable drugs though. This is driving up the cost of drug development, and consolidating the industry. As Pfizer (NYSE: PFE), GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK), and Merck (NYSE: MRK) have lucrative patents that are going to expire, other companies like AstraZeneca and Amgen are buying up small companies to fill their developmental shortfalls.

The reality is there are fewer drugs being found that perform better than ones already in existence for most medical ailments. Perhaps a clear example of this is in the area of psychiatric medication.

“…. antidepressants, antipsychotics, hypnotic medications and the like…… each … is filled with “me too” drugs, which are essentially just copies of one another; we have six S.S.R.I. antidepressants that essentially do the same thing, and likewise for the 10 new atypical antipsychotic drugs.”

“After a series of failed clinical trials in which novel antidepressants and antipsychotics did little or no better than placebos, the companies seem to have concluded that developing new psychiatric drugs is too risky and too expensive”

In the case of psychiatric medication, there are those that argue that these are hugely over prescribed as well. And along that line, there’s a site called the ADHD University, suggesting that there’s a place for higher education where the only subject studied is how to diagnose patients as ADHD. This site does come with a warning though, it is for “US Healthcare Professionals Only.”

It was also suggested in Richard Freidman’s New York Times article that an effective psychiatric medication could be found in Ketamine. That’s not hard to understand as Ketamine was developed to replace PCP, commonly known on the streets as “angel dust”, an effective hallucinogen.

We are running out of new drugs to take.

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