Strengthening Private Sector R&D

Though many organizations invest in medical research and development, the private sector is by far the largest U.S. funder of medical R&D. The private sector supports millions of U.S. jobs, and the scientific innovations it has funded have taken many forms, including treatments, diagnostic tools, medical devices, preventative measures, and more.

U.S. Medical and Health R&D Expenditures by Funding Source, 2018

Industry stats:

  • America’s biopharmaceutical industry is the global leader in medical innovation, with more than 500 new medicines approved by the Food and Drug Administration since 2000. (PhRMA)
  • In 2018, the U.S. bioscience industry directly employed 1.87 million in more than 101,000 business establishments. Through both indirect and induced effects, the associated economic output of this industry supports 9.4 million jobs throughout the U.S. economy. (BIO)
  • The biopharmaceutical industry supports more than 4 million jobs in the United States, with over 811,000 people working directly in the industry. (PhRMA)
  • In 2020, the previously estimated $2.4 trillion global R&D investment has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with an expected 3.8% contraction in total investment value (2020 Global R&D Funding Forecast, R&D World)
  • “Increasingly, the United States is seen globally as an important leader rather than the uncontested leader,” as China continues to increase its R&D investment. (2020 Science & Engineering Indicators, National Science Board)

Examples of private sector advocacy topics:

  • clinical trial participation and diversity,
  • technology transfer,
  • collaborative action to promote access and affordability without sacrificing fast-paced medical progress.

Policy Contacts

Without continued support for health research, many of the most promising young scientists, their ideas and a myriad of potentially life-changing scientific breakthroughs will vanish into oblivion.
Paul Marinec, PhD; University of California San Francisco