Posted 6/12/2017 12:30 PM (GMT -6)
Really hard to say. Like many other persistent chronic illnesses, research, sales, and marketing dollars on the pharmaceutical end are literally on the order of tens of billions. Global Nexium sales alone are about $5,000,000,000 US dollars each year. On the other hand, academic researchers studying GERD probably only receive an itty bitty fraction of this, probably a few million dollars each year to research the condition. And even then, about one third of these researchers are probably studying late-stage effects (like esophageal cancer), rather than what causes onset, and another third probably base their research around comparing PPIs or outcomes from surgery. You can go to Google Scholar and see all of this for yourself.
Not to get too political, but this huge imbalance in resource allocation is causing so many of these chronic illnesses to persist and have a tremendous economic impact. Not only that, but the 'market' (pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, specialists, advertisers, etc.) has come to depend on a problem that persists. Like I mentioned above, Nexium alone garners 5 billion USD in sales each year. Because we can't just figure out the problem upfront, the annual financial (and don't forget wellbeing) burden is tremendous and continues to skyrocket each year. As a chronic GERD sufferer, I am on Dexilant, which costs my insurance ~$300 each refill, and on top of that, I've burned through probably $50,000 this year on exams and procedures, including my recent fundoplication surgery.
I haven't personally seen a ton of progress made on a 'GERD cure' in the past few decades other than laparoscopic surgery techniques and better PPIs. I find it highly unlikely that one will just pop up from around the corner in a year or two.