Increased U.S. aid, rare disease focus drives surge in drug approvals

Over the past 5 years the U.S. government has significantly ratcheted up the amount of money it devotes to developers in an effort to find new vaccines and antibiotics. "We have pushed the envelope more toward diminishing the risk for companies so that they'll be more interested in getting involved with us and developing things like vaccines and antivirals," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the NIH's infectious diseases chief, tells The Associated Press. And the increased focus on new drugs for rare diseases helped drive a spike in new drug approvals last year. A record 11 of 30 new drug approvals were for treatments for rare diseases. Story

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