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New Report: The Truth About Drug Innovation

NEW YORK, June 24, 2008- A new report co-authored by Manhattan Institute senior fellow Benjamin Zycher, and Joseph DiMasi, and Christopher-Paul Milne, researchers from the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, examines case histories for thirty-five important pharmaceutical innovations. Skeptics of the private industry assert that the development of new medicines is most attributable to publicly funded sources.

As Marcia Angell, former editor-in-chief of The New England Journal of Medicine, remarked during an interview with PBS News : "Innovation comes mainly from NIH-supported research in academic medical centers. The drug companies do almost no innovation."

In this new study, the authors debunk this assertion and argue that the private sector plays a critical role in drug development.

Key findings include:

  • NIH-sponsored research tends to be concentrated on the basic science of disease biology, biochemistry, and disease processes, the goal of which is to identify biologic targets that might prove vulnerable to drugs yet to be developed.
  • Private sector contributions are weighted heavily toward the applied science of discovering ways to pursue treatments and cures for adverse medical conditions.

The authors conclude that NIH-sponsored and private-sector drug research are complementary to one another and are equally necessary in order to provide patients with better care and treatment.


If you would like to schedule an interview with one of the authors, please contact Samara Klar at 646-839-3313 or by email at

Benjamin Zycher, Ph.D., is a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute's Center for Medical Progress. He writes extensively on economic and political effects of government regulation and taxation. His research interests include health care policy and the pharmaceutical sector. Benjamin Zycher is available to discuss this report and matters relating to economics and public expenditures.

Joseph A. DiMasi, Ph.D., is Director of Economic Analysis at the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development at Tufts University. His research interests include drug development and regulatory review processes, the impact of policies and practices to speed the development and review processes for new drugs, as well as other matters relating to the economics of the pharmaceutical industry.

Christopher–Paul Milne, D.V.M., M.P.H., J.D., is Associate Director at the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development at Tufts University. His research interests include the role of outsourcing in drug development, issues relating to the research and development of new treatments, specifically those for serious and life–threatening illnesses, rare disorders and conditions, and neglected diseases of the developing world. He also studies regulatory and policy initiatives related to the Critical Path Initiative.

About the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development

The Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development ( at Tufts University provides strategic information to help drug developers, regulators, and policy makers improve the quality and efficiency of pharmaceutical development, review, and utilization. The Tufts Center, based in Boston, conducts a wide range of in-depth analyses on pharmaceutical issues and hosts' symposia, workshops, and public forums on related topics.

Contact: Charlene Neu
Tufts University, Health Sciences

Posted: June 2008