[Ip-health] MSF response to Tufts CSDD study on cost to develop a new drug

Joanna Keenan-Siciliano joanna.l.keenan at gmail.com
Tue Nov 18 07:29:27 PST 2014

MSF response to Tufts CSDD study on cost to develop a new drug


Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) responds to the Tufts CSDD study with the
below quote:

“The pharmaceutical industry-supported Tufts Center for the Study of Drug
Development claims it costs US$2.56 billion to develop a new drug today;
but if you believe that, you probably also believe the earth is flat.

“GlaxoSmithKline’s CEO Andrew Witty himself says the figure of a billion
dollars to develop a drug is a myth; this is used by the industry to
justify exorbitant prices. We need to ask ourselves, if the CEO of a top
pharmaceutical company says it’s a myth that it costs a billion dollars to
develop a drug, can we really take this new figure of $2.56 billion

“We know from past studies and the experience of non-profit drug developers
that a new drug can be developed for just a fraction of the cost the Tufts
report suggests. The cost of developing products is variable, but
experience* shows that new drugs can be developed for as little as $50
million, or up to $186 million if you take failure into account, which the
pharmaceutical industry certainly does – these figures are nowhere near
what the industry claims is the cost.

“Today nearly half of R&D spending is paid for by the taxpayer or by
philanthropy, and that figure continues to rise as governments do more and
more to make up for the pharmaceutical industry’s R&D shortcomings. Not
only do taxpayers pay for a very large percentage of industry R&D, but are
in fact paying twice because they then get hit with high prices for the
drugs themselves.

“Regardless of how much R&D costs, the system is failing people in
developing countries, as the latest example of Ebola shows, with over 5,000
deaths so far because there is no treatment or vaccine on the market;
meanwhile millions of people continue to die from diseases such as
tuberculosis. The R&D system as we know it is broken and must be fixed.”

- Rohit Malpani, Director Policy and Analysis, Médecins Sans Frontières
Access Campaign

*Drugs for Neglected Diseases *initiative*, converted from euros:

Kind regards


*Joanna Keenan*
Press Officer
Médecins Sans Frontières - Access Campaign
P: +41 22 849 87 45
M: +41 79 203 13 02
E: joanna.keenan[at]geneva.msf.org
T: @joanna_keenan


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