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R&D Costs, Innovative Output and Firm Size in the Pharmaceutical Industry

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  • Joseph Dimasi
  • Henry Grabowski
  • John Vernon

Abstract

This study examines the relationships between firm size, R&D costs and output in the pharmaceutical industry. Project-level data from a survey of 12 US-owned pharmaceutical firms on drug development costs, development phase lengths and failure rates are used to determine estimates of the R&D cost of new drug development by firm size. Firms in the sample are grouped into three size categories, according to their pharmaceutical sales at the beginning of the study period. The R&D cost per new drug approved in the US is shown to decrease with firm size, while sales per new drug approved are shown to increase markedly with firm size. Sales distributions are highly skewed and suggest that firms need to search for blockbuster drugs with above--average returns. The results are consistent with substantial economies of scale in pharmaceutical R&D, particularly at the discovery and preclinical development phases.

Suggested Citation

  • Joseph Dimasi & Henry Grabowski & John Vernon, 1995. "R&D Costs, Innovative Output and Firm Size in the Pharmaceutical Industry," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 2(2), pages 201-219.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:ijecbs:v:2:y:1995:i:2:p:201-219
    DOI: 10.1080/758519309
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jensen, Elizabeth J, 1987. "Research Expenditures and the Discovery of New Drugs," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(1), pages 83-95, September.
    2. DiMasi, Joseph A. & Hansen, Ronald W. & Grabowski, Henry G. & Lasagna, Louis, 1991. "Cost of innovation in the pharmaceutical industry," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 107-142, July.
    3. Angilley, Alan S, 1973. "Returns to Scale in Research in the Ethical Pharmaceutical Industry: Some Further Empirical Evidence," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(2), pages 81-93, December.
    4. Grabowski, Henry G & Vernon, John M, 1992. "Brand Loyalty, Entry, and Price Competition in Pharmaceuticals after the 1984 Drug Act," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(2), pages 331-350, October.
    5. Henry Grabowski & John Vernon, 1990. "A New Look at the Returns and Risks to Pharmaceutical R&D," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 36(7), pages 804-821, July.
    6. Vernon, John M & Gusen, Peter, 1974. "Technical Change and Firm Size: The Pharmaceutical Industry," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 56(3), pages 294-302, August.
    7. David Dranove & David Meltzer, 1994. "Do Important Drugs Reach the Market Sooner?," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(3), pages 402-423, Autumn.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Burak Dindaroglu, 2011. "R&D Productivity and Firm Size in Semiconductors and Pharmaceuticals: Evidence from Citation Yields," Working Papers 1101, Izmir University of Economics.
    2. Giuseppe Moscarini & Lones Smith, 1998. "Wald Revisited: The Optimal Level of Experimentation," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1176, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    3. Martin Backfisch, 2017. "Have Pharmaceutical R&D Project Success Rates Decreased? A Critical Review and New Empirical Results," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201746, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    4. Mc Namara, Peter & Baden-Fuller, Charles, 2007. "Shareholder returns and the exploration-exploitation dilemma: R&D announcements by biotechnology firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 548-565, May.
    5. José Lejarraga & Ester Martínez-Ros, 2010. "Revisiting the Size-R&D Productivity Relation: Introducing the Mediating Role of Decision-Making Style on the Scale and Quality of Innovative Output," Working Papers 1006, Departament Empresa, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, revised Mar 2010.
    6. Martin Backfisch, 2018. "The Development of Firm Size and Innovativeness in the Pharmaceutical industry between 1989 and 2010," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201813, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    7. Finn Valentin & Henrich Dahlgren & Rasmus Lund Jensen, 2006. "Research Strategies in Science-based Start-ups - Effects on performance in Danish and Swedish biotechnology," DRUID Working Papers 06-11, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
    8. Schwartz, Eduardo S., 2002. "Patents and R& D as Real Options," University of California at Los Angeles, Anderson Graduate School of Management qt86b1n43k, Anderson Graduate School of Management, UCLA.
    9. Fossett, Sarah J. & Wunnava, Phanindra V., 2017. "Active Ingredients: Exploring the Key Factors Affecting the Rising Cost of Developing New Drugs," IZA Discussion Papers 10817, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Richard T. Thakor & Andrew W. Lo, 2015. "Competition and R&D Financing Decisions: Theory and Evidence from the Biopharmaceutical Industry," NBER Working Papers 20903, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. David J. Ravenscraft & William F. Long, 2000. "Paths to Creating Value in Pharmaceutical Mergers," NBER Chapters, in: Mergers and Productivity, pages 287-326, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Philip Joos & Alexei Zhdanov, 2008. "Earnings and Equity Valuation in the Biotech Industry: Theory and Evidence," Financial Management, Financial Management Association International, vol. 37(3), pages 431-460, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    economies of scale; pharmaceutical R&D cost; sales-weighted output; JEL classifications: L65; 032;

    JEL classification:

    • L65 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Chemicals; Rubber; Drugs; Biotechnology; Plastics
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D

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