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PhRMA Company R&D Investment Flat in 2011

Pills and drug bottles (FDA.gov)

(FDA.gov)

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) released its annual industry profile today showing its 28 member companies spent $49.5 billion on research and development in 2011, down slightly from the $50.7 billion expended in 2010. The $49.5 billion spent on R&D is about 17 percent of total sales.

The organization cites the latest report of science and engineering indicators compiled by the National Science Board, part of National Science Foundation, that shows U.S. pharmaceutical companies were the largest industrial spenders on research, taking up 15.5 percent of all business R&D. The group says the U.S. pharmaceutical industry directly supported some 650,000 jobs in 2009, the last year for which data are available.

PhRMA says some 340 drugs were approved by FDA in the past 10 years, with 35 new approvals last year that PhRMA calls one of the highest totals in the past decade. Of the compounds approved last year, 11 address orphan diseases, defined by FDA as rare disorders affecting no more than 200,000 people in the U.S.

Approvals last year included personalized therapies for lung cancer and melanoma. Also approved were drugs for lupus, the first new drug approved for that disease since 1955, and two new drugs to treat hepatitis C.

The group says there are today more than 3,200 medicines in clinical trials or undergoing FDA review in the U.S., up from 2,400 in 2005. However, the total time required to develop a drug still takes between 10 and 15 years.

Read more: PhRMA: 88 HIV/AIDS Meds in Development at U.S. Companies

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