New drugs trail many old ones in effectiveness against disease

“New drugs trail many old ones in effectiveness against disease.” By Sharon Begley, Reuters.

Despite the more than $50 billion that U.S. pharmaceutical companies have spent every year since the mid-2000s to discover new medications, drugmakers have barely improved on old standbys developed decades ago. In the early years, drugs easily beat the placebo: They were, on average, 4.5 times as effective, where effectiveness means how well they lowered blood pressure, vanquished tumors, lifted depression or did whatever else they were intended to. But the trend line was inexorably downhill.

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