Pills on a US dollar bill

Mega-Finanzierung für die Arzneimittelforschung

SEATTLE – Während die Wucherpraktiken einer Handvoll Pharmaunternehmen Schlagzeilen machen, wird einem besorgniserregenden Aspekt dieser Geschichte nach wie vor zu wenig Bedeutung beigemessen. Neben plumper Gewinnmaximierung ist eine tiefe Skepsis gegenüber der Wirtschaftlichkeit der Entwicklung neuer Medikamente Grund für exorbitante Preiserhöhungen bei existierenden Medikamenten, unter anderem Generika. Diese Skepsis ist berechtigt.  

Traditionelle Finanzierungsmodelle für die Entwicklung von Arzneimitteln sind ins Stocken geraten. In den USA und vielen anderen Industrieländern sind die durchschnittlichen Kosten bis zur Marktreife eines neuen Medikamentes sprunghaft angestiegen, auch wenn Patente auf einige der rentabelsten Medikamente der Branche abgelaufen sind. Risikokapitalgeber haben sich aus jungen Life-Sciences-Unternehmen zurückgezogen, und große Pharmaunternehmen haben festgestellt, dass sie für jeden Dollar, den sie in die Forschung und Entwicklung investieren, weniger Medikamente zur Marktreife bringen.

Tatsächlich wird durchschnittlich nur einer von 10.000 Wirkstoffen, die in der frühen Forschungsphase als potenziell nutzbar eingestuft werden, letzten Endes von den Behörden zugelassen. Das Zulassungsverfahren kann bis zu 15 Jahre dauern und neigt zu übertriebener Vorsicht. Auch von den Arzneimitteln, die es bis in die klinischen Studien schaffen, wird nur eines von fünf die letzte Hürde nehmen.

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