Eroom's law

May 23, 2017

Eroom’s law, named after Moore’s law spelled backwards, predicts that discovering drugs is becoming more difficult with time; more specifically, the average cost of getting a drug approved by the FDA doubles every 9 years.

If Moore’s law has fueled a large part of the technological revolution of the past 50 years, as well as speculation about what technology still has to bring us, then Eroom’s law reflects a lackluster performance in pharmacology, and predicts a grimmer future for it still.

Why does Eroom’s law hold? One easy explanation that jumps to mind is that of course, discovering things gets harder with time. But that might be incorrect; Moore’s law provides a striking counterexample for that. Fortunately, the paper on Eroom’s law provides a thorough discussion of the possible issues.