Compiled By Deborah Austin U.S. drug development has streamlined dramatically, but to stay competitive, pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms must further pare time to market, says the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development in its Outlook 2001 Report. Since the Prescription Drug User Fee Act of 1992 was enacted, the proportion of new drugs needing two-plus years for approval dropped from 44% in 1993 to 6% in 1999, shows Tufts research. Approvals requiring one year or less jumped from 20% to 64%. But, says the report, cost containment and growing competition will increase pressure for cost-cutting and increased new-drug launches. And while near-term research-and-development productivity will improve, long-term company productivity will hinge on discovery programs increasing rates of getting new drugs to market. The Boston-based Tufts Center provides strategic information to drug developers, regulators, and policy makers.