FDA Approves More Drugs in '08. The Food and Drug Administration gave the thumbs up to 24 new drugs in 2008, more than any of the previous three years, according to the Wall Street Journal. The agency approved 18 drugs in 2007, 22 in 2006, and 20 in 2005. According to the Journal, the agency's high 2008 approval rate is "a consolation of sorts to an industry struggling with greater scrutiny, thousands of layoffs and thinning drug pipelines." Despite the higher number of green lights, delays in the approval process were more notable in 2008. The FDA resolves to reach a final decision on 90 percent of applications within the six- to 10-month time frame. However, the agency says it missed 32 out of 159 drug application deadlines, or 20 percent, through October 31, 2008.