Where's the ROI on drug R&D budgets?

The General Accounting Office has issued a new report that questions the returns the drug development industry is getting from its growing budget for R&D. According to the government watchdog, R&D spending for new drugs has swelled 147 percent between 1993 and 2004, hitting $60 billion a year. But at the same time, new drug applications grew only 38 percent, and the overwhelming majority of those new NDAs were modifications of existing therapies. Overall productivity, according to the report, has actually gone down. Democrats in Congress, who have been preparing to tackle drug costs in the upcoming legislative session, say the report calls into question the industry's mantra that the rising cost of drug development relates to ever-higher drug costs. Developers say that the numbers reflect the difficulty of translating research into new therapies.

- read the report on ROI from The Washington Post