By dividing pharmaceutical company's research and development budgets by the number of approved drugs over 15 years, Forbes' Matthew Herper and Scott DeCarlo came up with new estimates of drug development costs. "The range of money spent is stunning," Herper says at his blog. From the team's calculations, which build off of figures from Bernard Munos at the InnoThink Center for Research in Biomedical Innovation, AstraZeneca spent $12 billion on R&D for every new approved drug, while Amgen spent $3.7 billion.
"Small firms that don't go bust tend to be the most cost-effective. But among big pharma, some drugmakers manage to stretch their dollars further than others," notes Nature Medicine's Spoonful of Medicine blog.
"There are lots of expenses here. ... But the main expense is failure," Herper adds.