Drug Approvals

Big Pharma is a dynamic and complex industry. Just a few of the stakeholders include researchers, drug companies, pharmacies, governmental agencies, health plans, doctors, and patients. Agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Health, and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) have much influence on the pharmaceutical industry in America. One doesn’t have to look far to start to understand how the health and drug industry became so convoluted. All of the stakeholders in the industry have a role in cleaning up the system and ensuring patients get the drugs that they desperately need. Looking back at the drug approvals during the past three years, the types of drugs vary greatly. In 2014, forty-one drugs were approved (8 cancer drugs, 17 orphan drugs), the majority being antibodies, peptides, and enzymes (Jarvis, 2015b). In 2015, thirty-eight drugs were approved (13 cancer drugs, 12 antibodies and peptides), the majority being small molecules. Harvoni® (Gilead Sciences) took the spotlight with $13.9 billion in sales, a 554% increase from 2014 (Thayer, 2015).