Some numbers that I heard at Harvard Medical School:
- About 1500 compounds that are currently approved as patented or generic drugs.
- About 500 in clinical trials.
- About 10 approved every year and declining.
Declining? With half of the new glass towers in Boston and Cambridge packed with biologists and chemists? “It’s getting tougher to approve new drugs because they have to be safe, be effective, and be somehow better for an average population of patients than current drugs,” said my source. “Don’t get me started on the FDA. These criteria are probably too strict. A compound that has bad side effects for one person might affect another person very differently. So it would be good to have more options, especially for those with unusual genetics.”