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Comment & Response
August 4, 2020

Research and Development Costs of New Drugs

Author Affiliations
  • 1Tilburg University, Tilburg, the Netherlands
JAMA. 2020;324(5):516-517. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.8642

To the Editor Using publicly available data, Dr Wouters and colleagues1 estimated a mean cost for research and development of 63 products of $1335.9 million. This finding is noteworthy given that DiMasi and colleagues2 estimated a mean research and development cost of $2800 million based on data for 106 products developed by 10 large firms. Wouters and colleagues attributed this difference, among other reasons, to higher clinical costs incurred by larger pharmaceutical firms in the sample of DiMasi et al.2 The sample used by Wouters and colleagues contained 41% of US pharmaceutical firms with a market capitalization greater than $10 billion and 5% of all pharmaceutical firms with less than $1 billion. Thus, smaller firms were not oversampled, as claimed.