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The FDA's drug approval rate plunged in 2016

2016 was not a good year for new medicines. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared just 22 new drugs for sale last year, the lowest number since 2010 and a sharp decline from 2015's total of 45 approved drugs. While the FDA simply delayed approval on some applications that will likely be given the green light in 2017, there's also been a decline in applications overall, Reuters reports. Despite recent advances in cancer treatment and other genetic diseases, drug companies are finding difficulty securing financial returns due to political pushback against the rising costs of medicine. Returns on research and development investment at the top 12 pharmaceutical companies fell to 3.7 percent in 2016, from a high of 10.1 percent in 2010.