Data from the first of year until now shows that new drug (NMEs) approvals from FDA are at 18 YTD as compared to 22 for the same period last year. Obviously, this translates to a slight slow down in approvals. But 2013 isn't over until the Fat Lady sings so we could still see a compensating upsurge in the last 4 months of the year that could keep even with 2012. Regardless, this year's rate is still better than some recent prior years in the past decade.
Antoher insight from Fitch Ratings, an agency and industry observer, is that the industry has achieved 26 "breakthrough designation" approvals so far from Oct 2012 till now. This comes from 83 total submissions, so the batting average (it is almost October afterall) is an impressive .313 for the industry as a whole. That should translate into more, quicker approvals in the near future.
How the above plays out may be more or less important to the industry depending on how close it comes to the estimated loss of $25B in revenues in 2014 due to patent cliff issues? Fitch acknowledges the estimate may be overboard depending on how successful some franchises have been inextending patent life. And the 3 biggest expirees Lilly's Humalog, and Amgen's EPO and Neupogen don't seem to have looming competition in the US yet as no biosimilars have made it through the approval process. So revenue loss impact is still uncertain here. See Pharmalot.