(AP)—The Food and Drug Administration approved fewer first-of-a-kind drugs in 2013 compared with 2012, when new drug approvals reached a 15-year high.
The agency approved 27 innovative medicines last year, down from the 39 new medications cleared the year before.
Despite the decline, FDA officials say last year's tally is in line with the historical trend. On average, the FDA has approved 28 first-of-a-kind drugs over the last five years.
FDA drug approvals are watched closely by analysts as a barometer of industry innovation and the government's efficiency in reviewing new therapies.
Experts say the number of drug approvals declined in 2013 mainly because there were fewer drugs submitted for review.
Explore further: US House sends drug bill to Senate for final vote