Pharma gets a long overdue shot-in-the-arm

Pharma Pipeline

For those of us who represent pharmaceutical industry clients, it’s been hard to open the papers or flip through the latest edition of our favorite pharma publications over the past year without reading about the alleged, imminent demise of the pharmaceutical industry.

Stories with headlines questioning trust and transparency, product recalls, multimillion dollar court cases or the end of the era of “blockbuster” treatments, at times, end with the conclusion that the industry is in decline.

But not so fast!


Lots of Pills via Flickr

A recent report commissioned by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) identified 5,408 new drugs currently in clinical development, of which 70 percent are potentially first-in-class treatments. Included among these potential first-in-class treatments, are nearly three times as many drugs for rare diseases and conditions compared with a decade ago – an average of 140 per year in the last 10 years, versus 64 per year in the previous decade.

Of course, a far smaller number will actually make it to the counters of our local pharmacies, following required, rigorous testing and trials. But driven by new innovations, including a continuing focus on personalized medicine and greater understanding of the mechanism of action of major diseases – most notably in cancer – a case can certainly be made that reports of pharma’s demise have been greatly exaggerated!