he Truly Staggering Cost Of Inventing New Drugs - 31 October 2014 - FORBES STAFF - Matthew Herper

The Truly Staggering Cost Of Inventing New Drugs

10 February 2012 | FORBES | Matthew Herper

Matthew Herper covers science and medicine for FORBES.

During the Super Bowl, a representative of the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly posted the on the company’s corporate blog that the average cost of bringing a new drug to market is $1.3 billion, a price that would buy 371 Super Bowl ads, 16 million official NFL footballs, two pro football stadiums, pay of almost all NFL football players, and every seat in every NFL stadium for six weeks in a row. This is, of course, ludicrous.

The average drug developed by a major pharmaceutical company costs at least $4 billion, and it can be as much as $11 billion.

Research Spending Per New Drug

Company Number Drugs Approved R&D Spending Per Drug ($Mil) Total R&D Spending 1997-2011 ($Mil)
AstraZeneca 5 11,790.93 58,955
Glaxo Smith Kline 10 8,170.81 81,708
Sanofi 8 7,909.26 63,274
Roche Holding 11 7,803.77 85,841
Pfizer 14 7,727.03 108,178
Johnson & Johnson 13 5,885.65 88,285
Eli Lilly & Co. 11 4,577.04 50,347
Abbott Laboratories 8 4,496.21 35,970
Merck & Co Inc 16 4,209.99 67,360
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. 11 4,152.26 45,675
Novartis AG 21 3,983.13 83,646
Amgen Inc. 9 3,692.14 33,229
Sources: InnoThink Center For Research In Biomedical Innovation; Thomson Reuters Fundamentals via FactSet Research Systems

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