13th January 2015: The EMA reported on 9th January that the number of novel drugs recommended for approval in Europe continued to increase in 2014. This mirrored the trend reported earlier in the month for the USA, where new approvals last year was the second highest ever recorded.
This confirms the upward global trend that, with hindsight, has been going on now over the past decade. And with increasing numbers of compounds currently at every single phase of development, and finance to progress these becoming easier to access, we can expect numbers to go on rising further over the forthcoming decade.
But just because these new drugs are registrable doesn’t mean that they will all be affordable within nations’ healthcare budgets. This is illustrated by the recent weeding out by the UK Cancer Drugs Fund of some modern cancer drugs, the losers having been quickly usurped by more recent products considered to provide better value: the bar to commercial success is rising. The phenomenon that we see in the most competitive of all therapeutic areas (oncology) is going to apply to other therapeutic areas as ever more good quality new products reach the market.