Japan’s economic future is everyone’s future


  1. After decades of rapid growth, illegal immigration into the U.S. has fallen since its 2007 peak.
  2. The declines remain tepid as the decrease in share from Mexico has been mostly offset by growth from Asia, Central America, and sub-Saharan Africa.
  3. Roughly 25 percent of current U.S. immigrants remain unauthorized.

The number of unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. has stabilized in recent years after decades of rapid growth. But the origin countries of unauthorized immigrants have shifted, with the number from Mexico declining since 2009 and the number from elsewhere rising, according to the latest Pew Research Center estimates.

Within the FDA, the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) and the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) control the regulatory process for pharmaceuticals.

According to Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, it takes $2.6 billion to successfully develop a new drug. In 2001, it estimated the cost to be just $800 million ($1 billion in 2013 dollars). Joseph A. DiMasi, director of economic analysis at Tufts CSDD, outlined the rising costs:

The illegal alien population is constantly in flux. Individuals enter and exit this population daily by making covert border crossings, by taking unauthorized employment, by failing to leave when their visas expire, by dying, and as a result of INS [Immigration and Naturalizations Service] decisions. Policymakers need to know the size of the population at particular moments and the volume of immigration over periods of time. Although illegal immigration has been a concern since the introduction of immigration curbs in 1875, deliberate attempts to estimate the population size reliably were not made until the 1970’s.

And that makes sense. Friends of Cancer Research outlined that the drug approval process relies on a public-private partnership between CDER and drug sponsors—the organizations (primarily pharmaceutical and biotech companies) responsible for developing new drugs.

“The process is rigorous,” it says. “Only a small portion of the drugs submitted to CDER are approved. Regulators and sponsors work together to ensure that the process is as efficient as possible. Even so, it takes an estimated 8.5 years on average for a sponsor to bring a drug from early laboratory discovery to approval for human use.”

But, methodology matters.

Public Citizen came up with $161 million. And according to The New York Times, “a systematic review of studies that looked at the cost of drug development was published in Health Policy. The review found 13 articles, with estimates ranging from $161 million to $1.8 billion (in 2009 dollars).”

Either way, more transparency is needed.

One option is to run more publicly funded trails. According to Roger Collier at the Canadian Medical Association Journal. “This could provide greater insight into actual costs and lead to more efficient trail designs,” he says.

Regardless, it doesn’t seem like the pharmaceutical industry will go away anytime soon. “You can’t say that they are suffering,” says University of Victoria economist Rebecca Warburton. “They spend more on marketing than they do on research.”

Learn More

  1. Cost to Develop New Pharmaceutical Drug Now Exceeds $2.5B — Scientific American
  2. Does it really cost $2.6 billion to develop a new drug? — The Washington Post
  3. Drug development cost estimates hard to swallow — National Center for Biotechnology Information