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FDA Approves Highest Number of New Medicines in 18 Years

Forty one novel medicines were approved in 2014 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, fourteen more than in 2013, according to Reuters. While the FDA does not develop or test products, their experts review testing performed by manufacturers and grant approval when they determine that the overall benefit of the product outweighs the risks of the intended use, the Science Times Reported. This number is second only to the record high of medication approvals experienced in 1996, when 53 new medications were approved, according to the Science Times. European nations also saw a spike in recommendations for new drugs, driven mostly by expensive new treatments for rare and serious diseases, including many forms of cancer, the Science Times reported. With the medicine industry shifting their focus toward diseases requiring specialized products (where competition for the companies is limited), a reported forty percent of the new drugs approved in 2013 were geared towards rare diseases, according to Reuters. Increasing competition has caused the prices of many older medications to plummet, according to the Science Times. In 2014, two drugs were approved to treat cancer by helping the body's own immune system fight tumors, Reuters reported.

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