2015 has been a great year for biotechnology companies and pharmaceuticals. According to a report by Forbs 51 drugs have been approved, 45 of them were approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and 6 therapies by the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER).
Another important benchmark in 2015 is the number of approvals for first-of-a-kind drugs, which has reached the highest level in 29 years.
The record numbers indicate substantial progress in technological innovations. Several large pharmaceuticals have contributed for running essential clinical trials, as well as in research and development, including Novartis (NYSE:NVS), Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN), Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY), Alexion (NASDAQ:ALXN), Baxalta (NYSE:BLXT).
While progress in technological innovation and research and development is expected to continue in 2016, and specialty medicines will become more common, an important debate regarding drug prices is expected accelerate as well. Both Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have presented plans designed to cut drug prices, making them more affordable and reducing burden from insurance companies and hopefully reduce health insurance premiums.
In the end of the day, despite the astronomical prices of new drugs, their existence is a positive step forward in the industry. There are 16 new drugs designed to treat cancer on market right now, 12 new drugs for infectious diseases, as well as several needed vaccines and antibiotics.