Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Return on Investment Slipping in Biomedical Research, Johns Hopkins Analysis Suggests

As more money has been spent on biomedical research in the United States over the past 50 years, there has been diminished return on investment in terms of life expectancy gains and new drug approvals, two Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers say.

In a report published August 17 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers found that while the number of scientists has increased more than nine-fold since 1965 and the National Institutes of Health’s budget has increased four-fold, the number of new drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration has only increased a little more than two-fold. Meanwhile, life expectancy gains have remained constant at roughly two months per year.

“The idea of public support for biomedical research is to make lives better. But there is increasing friction in the system,” says co-author Dr. Arturo Casadevall, professor and chair of the W. Harry Feinstone Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at Johns Hopkins. “We are spending more money now just to get the same results we always have and this is going to keep happening if we don’t fix things.”

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