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U.S. pharma industry R&D spending as a percent of total revenues 1990-2019

In relation to total revenue, the pharmaceutical industry is among the biggest investors in research and development (R&D). Based on data from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the industry in the United States spent around 22 percent of global revenues on R&D in 2019.

Analyzing the revenues and R&D expenditure

Members of the PhRMA trade group generated global revenues of approximately 377 billion U.S. dollars in 2019, with domestic revenues accounting for around 73 percent of that figure. With regard to R&D expenditure, PhRMA members spent close to 83 billion U.S. dollars worldwide in 2019, with spending in their domestic market of the United States accounting for almost 78 percent of the global figure.

Product lifecycles in the pharmaceutical industry

Pharmaceutical manufacturers require time and money if they are to develop new innovative medicines: it can take 10 to 15 years to develop a new medicine, at an average cost of approximately 2.6 billion U.S. dollars. Due to patents and exclusivity, brand name drugs can expect to be on the market for an average of twelve years before a generic version enters. Generics contain the same active ingredients as branded drugs but can be considerably cheaper. The healthcare system in the United States generated around 313 billion U.S. dollars in savings through generic medicines in 2019.

Spending of U.S. pharmaceutical industry for research and development as a percentage of total revenues from 1990 to 2019

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Release date



United States

Survey time period

1990 to 2019

Special properties

PhRMA members

Supplementary notes

* 2007 revised with more current data.

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Statistics on "U.S. pharmaceutical industry"

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