How many new drugs rely on government-funded science? All of them

How many new drugs rely on government-funded science? All of them thumbnail

This is an excerpt from Second Opinion, a weekly roundup of eclectic and under-the-radar health and medical science news emailed to subscribers every Saturday morning. If you haven’t subscribed yet, you can do that by clicking here.


There’s public science in every single new drug. That was the surprising answer to a U.S. senator’s question about how government-funded research is benefitting citizens. But it took a year to come up with the numbers.

It all started last June when Bentley University professor Fred Ledley and his colleagues in Massachusetts were watching a senate budget hearing that was considering cutting the budget of the National Institutes of Health, the major medical science funding agency in the U.S.

When NIH director Francis Collins was asked how publicly-funded science was leading to new drugs, he couldn’t give a detailed answer. That’s when Ledley realized there was a data gap. Ledley also knew that with modern data mining tools his team could finally answer that question.



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