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Global Pharmaceutical R&D Productivity Declining According to Thomson Reuters, CMR International

PHILADELPHIA and LONDON, June 28 /PRNewswire/ -- The pharmaceutical industry continues to rely heavily on sales from an aging portfolio of drugs, whilst the proportion of total sales from newer drugs has dropped, according to data released today from the 2010 Pharmaceutical R&D Factbook complied by CMR International, a Thomson Reuters business.

The new edition of the R&D Factbook shows that the majority of sales for the world's leading pharmaceutical companies are derived from the most mature drugs, with the top three drugs for a company on average contributing 44 percent of total sales.  

A general decline in success rates for new drugs also has taken its toll on productivity and indicative of this is a doubling of phase III terminations in the period 2007-2009 compared with those in 2004-2006. Further analysis of the data reveals that less than 1 in 10 drugs reaching 'first toxicity dose' can now expect to be successfully launched.  

Key highlights from the 2010 R&D Factbook include:

  • The proportion of total sales from drugs launched within the last five years has dropped to below 7 percent, compared with 8 percent in 2008.  
  • R&D expenditure dropped by 0.3 percent in 2009, down from 6.6 percent in 2008, and in stark contrast to the growth rate of previous years.
  • 26 new molecular entities (NME) were launched onto the global market in 2009, an increase from 2008's 20-year low of 21.
  • 17.9 percent of global R&D expenditure was allocated to anti-cancer drugs, making it the therapeutic area receiving the largest proportion of investment.
  • Competition from the generics sector is increasing in particular due to contributions from companies based in India and China.  

"The latest data shows that poor productivity in 2009 continued to be exasperated by the low success rate for drugs in late stage development and a decline in sales from new drugs launched within the last 5 years," said Hans Poulsen, head of consulting at CMR International. "The increase in NME launches compared with 2008 offers some positive news however, with data indicating a continued drop in overall success rates, it remains to be seen if the industry can reverse a 10 year trend in declining R&D output."

The information published in the Factbook is based on primary sources covering major pharmaceutical companies which account for approximately 80 percent of the industry's global R&D expenditure.

For further information, please go to:  

About CMR International

CMR International, a Thomson Reuters business, is the world leader in global pharmaceutical R&D performance measurement. For almost 15 years, CMR International has worked with the leading global pharmaceutical companies to assess R&D productivity and provide insights into industry trends in order to strengthen planning and effectiveness of R&D. Since 2003, CMR International has published the pharmaceutical R&D Factbook, an annual report for the pharmaceutical R&D sector providing a reliable source of key reference metrics.

Thomson Reuters

Thomson Reuters is the world's leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals.  We combine industry expertise with innovative technology to deliver critical information to leading decision makers in the financial, legal, tax and accounting, healthcare and science and media markets, powered by the world's most trusted news organization.  With headquarters in New York and major operations in London and Eagan, Minnesota, Thomson Reuters employs 55,000 people and operates in over 100 countries.  For more information, go to

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