Drug sales to top $1.3 trillion

August 6, 2015

Global sales of pharmaceuticals will soar to $1.3 trillion in 2018, led by new cancer and specialty drug introductions, a new report found.

Global sales of pharmaceuticals will soar to $1.3 trillion in 2018, led by new cancer and specialty drug introductions, a new report found.

The Thomson Reuters 2015 CMR International Pharmaceutical R&D Factbook found that there were a record 41 FDA new drug approvals in 2014. In addition, 46 new drugs were launched last year, the highest number in more than a decade, according to the report.

Sixty-seven percent of the first launches were specialty drugs, indicated for the treatment of cancer, HCV, eye disorders and other diseases. Eleven new molecular entities (NMEs) were indicated as cancer treatments, of which seven received orphan drug status. Notably, one-third of all launches were for rare indications.

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In addition, pharmaceutical sales reached an impressive $1 trillion for the first time in 2014.

“Many industry commentators [quantify] a declining R&D productivity trend. Yet, despite these analyses, there have been a number of indicators in the last 12 months which paint a more positive story,” the Factbook report stated.

At the same time, only around 5% of global biopharmaceutical sales were derived from products launched onto the market in the preceding 5 years, while the rest were derived from established products, according to the report.

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Thomson Reuters also found a decline in early drug development pipelines and a growth in late-phase pipeline volumes. “The decline in early development pipelines, coupled with a declining number of terminated projects in Phase III, means the industry is improving its ability to ‘fail fast, fail cheaply’, thereby progressing compounds which are more likely to succeed in later phases,” the report stated.

“The increasing focus into areas of unmet medical needs and specialty care, coupled with improving late-phase success rates data, means these types of strategies may be proving to be successful across development.”

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