Estimates of how much it costs to invent and test a new medicine have been weaponized in the debate about how much drugs should cost once they’re on the market. The pharmaceutical industry, citing a $2.8 billion figure from a group at Tufts University, argues that prices need to be high enough to justify huge financial risks. But critics, sometimes citing figures as low as $43 million, argue that the higher figure is just an excuse for price gouging.
A team of researchers tried to settle this debate with an analysis of publicly available data and they came up with their own figure that seems to split the difference: $1.3 billion. The research appeared Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.