Consolidation and Innovation in the Pharmaceutical Industry: The Role of Mergers and Acquisitions in the Current Innovation Ecosystem
26 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2017
Date Written: March 2017
Recent changes in the pharmaceutical industry have spurred an unprecedented wave of mergers and acquisitions. Some researchers and agencies have questioned whether pharmaceutical consolidation could impede drug innovation. However, as I explain in this Article, these concerns are largely based on an outdated understanding of the drug innovation ecosystem. Whereas a few decades ago almost all drug discovery took place inside traditional pharmaceutical companies, today most drug innovation is externally-sourced from biotech companies and smaller firms. Internal R&D is no longer the primary source, or even an important source, of drug innovation. As a result, analyses that focus on the impacts of pharmaceutical consolidation on internal drug innovation are incomplete and missing the point. Instead, merger analyses should examine whether consolidation increases demand for externally-sourced innovation and, ultimately, strengthens aggregate drug innovation.
Keywords: pharmaceuticals, innovation, mergers, consolidation, biotech
JEL Classification: K, I1
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation