DRUG INDUSTRY R&D HITS NEW RECORD: $51.3 BILLION

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The pharmaceutical industry's commitment to finding new medicines climbed to a new high last year, as drug manufacturer-sponsored research and development (R&D) spending hit a record $51.3 billion in 2005.

Most of that R&D investment reflects spending on new medicines by member companies of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA)—a group that has increased its investment in new drug research each year for the past quarter century.

PhRMA's members paid out a record $39.4 billion in 2005 (up from $37 billion in 2004 and from $2 billion in 1980). According to the association, last year's R&D spending amounted to more than 19% of the total sales of PhRMA members.

"America's research-based biopharmaceutical companies once again lead the world in investing in the hunt for new cures and treatments," said PhRMA's president and chief executive officer, Billy Tauzin. "The R&D investment made by PhRMA member companies is one reason that Americans today live longer, healthier, and more productive lives."