World pharma spending to exceed $1trn in 2014 - study

World pharma spending to exceed $1trn in 2014 - study
Global pharmaceutical spending will surpass the trillion dollar threshold in 2014, with high prices for innovative hepatitis C and cancer drugs in the US, a new study says. By 2018 spending is expected to increase by another 30 percent.

With an increase of 7 percent over 2013, total spending on medicines will amount to $1.06 trillion in 2014, says the report“The Global Use of Medicines: Outlook through 2018” from the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, released Thursday.

In the next few years, by 2018, the increase to $1.3 trillion will be due to about $100 billion on hepatitis C drugs, the same sums spent on cancer treatment, and $78 billion on diabetes care.

The 30 percent increase is to be driven by more specialty drug innovation, greater patient access to medicines and reduced impact from patent expiry dates.

Global spending and growth (Image from Global Outlook for Medicines Through 2018 Exhibits)

The American share in the total drug spending is about one third. IMS experts estimate that in 2014 it will rise 11.7 percent. The US has particularly high prices, according to the report, but drug makers defend this by citing the soaring cost of new medicine development.

"Within the US market, we are seeing in aggregate higher levels of rebate, especially in the diabetes and respiratory therapy areas," said Murray Aitken, executive director of the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, according to Reuters.

Geographic distribution of medicine spending (Image from Global Outlook for Medicines Through 2018 Exhibits)

“The higher level of spending growth we’re projecting over the next five years reflects an unusual combination of higher spending on the surge of innovative medicines for patients and lower savings from patent expiries,” said Aitken, according to The Pharma Letter, a pharmaceutical and biotechnology news and analysis service.

“This is particularly evident this year and next in developed countries - and especially in the USA, which accounts for more than a third of the global market,” he added.

Spending on medicines in “pharmerging markets” will rise more than 50 percent over the next five years, The Pharma Letter said, citing IMS.

With its goal of universal healthcare system coverage by 2020, China is expected to transform the medicine market, becoming the second largest after the US. In the next five years, China expects per capita spending to grow by 70 percent.

Pharmaceutical spending per capita (Image from Global Outlook for Medicines Through 2018 Exhibits)

As researchers forecast, nearly 200 new drugs are to be launched in the next five years.

More than 80 percent of the drug spending growth will be based on non-branded medicines – biologic therapies among them. Nearly 40 percent of the growth will correspond to specialty medicine in the oncology, autoimmune and respiratory therapy areas.

However, IMS's figures could be lowered by about $60 billion to $80 billion, as the institute hasn’t taken into account manufacturer rebates, coupons and discounts.