Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain
the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in
Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles
The FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) approved 59 novel drugs in 2018, breaking its record of 53 drugs in 1996 (Fig. 1; Table 1). This bumper approval crop follows on the heels of a few fruitful years for drug developers. The FDA’s 5-year annual average is now 43 drugs per year, nearly twice its nadir in 2009.