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U.S. government warns pharmaceutical industry--new drug development is 'stagnant'

According to a report posted on , the Government Accounting Office has warned the pharmaceutical industry that although their investment in research and development has increased 147% between 1993 and 2004, New Drug Applications have only risen 38%.

The report criticizes the industry for focusing on more profitable "blockbuster" drugs leaving little or no resources for "developing therapies for smaller patient populations and less visible diseases."

The report says the Food and Drug Administration describes drug development as "stagnant." The number of New Molecular Entity applications, or drugs containing ingredients not currently marketed in the US, increased only 7%. The majority of applications dealt with modifications to existing drugs.

The report, co-authored by representative Henry Waxman and Senators Edward Kennedy and Richard Durbin, does say smaller pharmaceutical companies are bucking the trend, working on drugs larger firms typically do not investigate.
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