Is poor research the cause of the declining productivity of the pharmaceutical industry? An industry in need of a paradigm shift

Drug Discov Today. 2013 Mar;18(5-6):211-7. doi: 10.1016/j.drudis.2012.10.010. Epub 2012 Nov 3.


For the past 20 years target-based drug discovery has been the main research paradigm used by the pharmaceutical industry and billions of dollars have been invested into this approach. However, recent industry data strongly indicate that the target-based approach is not an effective drug discovery paradigm and is likely to be the cause of the productivity crisis the industry is experiencing. However, from a theoretical and scientific perspective the target-based approach appears sound, so why is it not more successful? The purpose of this paper is first to analyse the real-life implementation of the target-based approach to identify possible reasons for the high failure rate and second to suggest changes to the drug discovery approach, which can improve productivity.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drug Discovery*
  • Drug Industry*
  • Efficiency
  • Humans
  • Research