TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Fewer new prescription drugs will get approved in the U.S. this year than the 30 approved in 2011, a new report predicts.


The decline comes just as an unprecedented tidal wave of generic competition for many top-selling drugs slashes the billions of dollars they had been bringing drugmakers.


Fitch Ratings says the Food and Drug Administration approved 14 innovative drugs in the first half of this year. That's down from 18 in the first half of 2011.


Meanwhile, since last October three of what had been the 10 best-selling drugs have gotten generic competition. Those are the long-time best-seller cholesterol fighter Lipitor, plus psychiatric drug Zyprexa and blood thinner Plavix. Next week, another top 10 drug, asthma and allergy pill Singulair, gets its first U.S. generic rivals.

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