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.

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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.

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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.

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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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