Eroom’s Law
n. The observed exponential decline in the rate that new pharmaceutical drugs are discovered; specifically, the observation that, over the recent history of drug research by pharmaceutical companies, the number of new drugs discovered per billion dollars of research is halved every nine years.
The number of Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs the pharmaceutical industry pumps out for every billion dollars it spends on research and development has dropped by 50 percent every nine years since the 1950s in a trend known as Eroom's Law.
—Amy Nordrum, “Why Are Drugs So Expensive? One Reason: Scientists Can't Reproduce Each Other's Work,” International Business Times, March 12, 2015
They found that for every billion dollars spent on research and development since 1950, the number of new drugs approved has fallen by half roughly every nine years, meaning a total decline by a factor of 80. They called this Eroom's Law, because it resembled an inversion of Moore's Law (the observation, first made by the Intel co-founder Gorden E. Moore in 1965, that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit doubles approximately about every two years).
—Dan Hurley, “Why Are So Few Blockbuster Drugs Invented Today?,” The New York Times, November 13, 2014
Transistor technology does neatly seem to follow the Moore's Law curve and a few other cutting-edge technologies like genome sequencing also seem to do this. Yet Moore's proselytizers have extended his law to pretty much everything. The law especially seems to break down when applied to biomedical research; for instance a review from last year pointed out how the pace of drug development almost seems to have been following a reverse law, titled "Eroom's Law" of declining productivity.
—Ashutosh Jogalekar, “Moore's Law and battery technology: No dice,” Scientific American, April 04, 2013
2012 (earliest)
However, in parallel — as many have discussed — R&D efficiency, measured simply in terms of the number of new drugs brought to market by the global biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries per billion US dollars of R&D spending, has declined fairly steadily. We call this trend 'Eroom’s Law', in contrast to the more familiar Moore's Law ('Eroom's Law' is 'Moore's Law' backwards).
—Jack W. Scannell, et al., “Diagnosing the decline in pharmaceutical R&D efficiency,” Nature, March 01, 2012
Moore's Law, named after Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, is the observation that the number of transistors that can be packed into an integrated circuit doubles every two years. Since it has been shown that drug discovery has displayed the opposite tendency, that is, it has declined at an exponential rate over the same timeframe (50 years or so), it is, in effect, the reverse of Moore's Law, hence Eroom's Law.