Where have all the new drugs gone?

How drug companies have grown bigger — and smaller — in the desperate search for new products.

Sandra Anderson is a member of a vanishing breed. As the inventor of a medicine that has received regulatory approval, she is bucking a worldwide trend that has put the pharmaceutical industry into crisis mode.

Although roughly 800,000 medical research papers were published in 2008, the number of new drugs reaching the market is plummeting. On average, the US Food and Drug Administration approved 41 drugs each year