PhRMA member companies invested nearly $80 billion in R&D last year

Tim McClung
Tim McClung July 18, 2019


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Last year, PhRMA member companies invested a record-setting $79.6 billion in research and development (R&D) according to the 2019 PhRMA member annual survey.

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The survey, released in conjunction with our 2019 Biopharmaceutical Research Industry Profile, also revealed roughly $1 out of every $5 of revenue was devoted to R&D last year. Of note, PhRMA member R&D spending comprised the majority of the estimated $97 billion the entire U.S. biopharmaceutical industry spent on R&D in 2017, the latest figure available.

This investment in R&D drives the unprecedented advancements biopharmaceutical companies are making to find new treatments and cures. Of medicines in the clinical phase, 74% are potentially first-in-class, meaning they represent a possible new pharmacological class for treating a disease. And last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a record 65 new medicines, including 59 new medicines approved by the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation, including:

  • Three new medicines from a new class for migraine
  • A new treatment for HIV for patients who have failed other therapies
  • The first new treatment to alleviate pain caused by endometriosis in 10 years
  • A new personalized tumor-agnostic cancer treatment designed to counteract a specific genetic mutation as opposed to a specific type of tumor, such as breast or colon cancer
  • The first and only therapy for adult patients who have relapsed or refractory (resistant to treatment) Acute Myeloid Leukemia with a FLT3 mutation

The U.S. biopharmaceutical sector at large accounts for roughly one-sixth of total domestic R&D spending by U.S. businesses, the single largest share of all U.S. business R&D. This investment also serves as the foundation for the 4 million jobs the biopharmaceutical sector supports throughout the economy, including the 125,000 biopharmaceutical researchers working tirelessly to develop new treatments and cures.

To learn more about how the biopharmaceutical industry pursues new treatments and cures, visit www.innovation.org.

Topics: Research and Development