Worldwide cancer drug spending projected to soar
The emergence of new, more expensive, cancer drug therapies that help the immune system attack tumors is expected to increase cancer drug spending to over $150 billion by 2020 according to a global oncology report released by IMS Health Holdings. This represents an annual global growth rate for oncology drug spending of 7.5% to 10.5% through 2020, up from last year’s IMS forecast of 6% to 8% growth.
The report, released in advance of the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago, indicates that the past five years have seen a 72% increase in the cost of oncology drugs in the United States where the dollar is gaining strength and where prices are set high.
Cancer spending was approximately $107 billion in 2015, up 11.5% compared to 2011 through 2014, thanks the introduction of more than 70 molecules for the management and treatment of more than 20 oncological pathologies, including one molecule launched by Roche for the treatment of advanced bladder cancer. Bristol-Myers and Merck, as well as Gilead, Pfizer, and AbbVie, are all working on the development of molecules. The IMS report reveals that approximately 130 novel molecules are undergoing clinical trials currently.
The main factors driving increased spending include worldwide revenue growth for the drug Opdivo at a whopping 1660%, and 107% revenue growth for the drug Eliquis. Other factors include strong US revenue growth (24%) and lagging (-2%) international revenue growth, as well as 62% worldwide Hepatitis C franchise revenue growth. Regulatory agencies in the UK and allied countries now monitor cost profiles of emerging therapies after receiving criticism from the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence regarding the price of Roche’s breast cancer drug Kadcyla, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology is working on a format for oncologists and other medical professionals to start prescribing selected oncology drugs that are more cost-effective.