Oncology drug spending soars

May 5, 2015

Total global spending on oncology medicines – including therapeutic treatments and supportive care – reached the $100 billion threshold in 2014, while spending on oncology drugs in the U.S. increased 5.3 percent compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) in 2014 to reach $42.4 billion, according to a new report.

Total global spending on oncology medicines – including therapeutic treatments and supportive care – reached the $100 billion threshold in 2014, while spending on oncology drugs in the United States increased 5.3% compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) in 2014 to reach $42.4 billion, according to a new report.

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In its study, Developments in Cancer Treatments, Market Dynamics, Patient Access and Value: Global Oncology Trend Report, The IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics found that growth in global spending on cancer drugs increased at a CAGR of 6.5% on a constant-dollar basis during the past 5 years.

“The increased prevalence of most cancers, earlier treatment initiation, new medicines and improved outcomes are all contributing to the greater demand for oncology therapeutics around the world,” said Murray Aitken, IMS Health senior vice president and executive director of the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics. “Innovative therapeutic classes, combination therapies and the use of biomarkers will change the landscape over the next several years, holding out the promise of substantial improvements in survival with lower toxicity for cancer patients.”

Notably, cancer survival rates have also risen over the past 5 years.  Within the United States, two-thirds of Americans diagnosed with cancer now live at least five years, compared to just over half in 1990, according to IMS Health.

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The strong pipeline of medicines in clinical development include new “immuno-oncologics” that hold out the promise of improved survival with lower toxicity for some patients, as well as combination therapies that can address multiple pathways in a tumor, potentially leading to substantial increases in survival. Additionally, therapeutic effectiveness in multiple genetic subpopulations is being improved through the use of real-world evidence from deep biomarker data linked to treatment information. Molecular diagnostics are rapidly transforming drug development and patient selection, but only one-third of new oncology drugs have an identified biomarker at time of launch.

Oncology spending remains concentrated among the United States and 5 largest European countries, which together account for 66% of the total market, while the rising prevalence of cancer and greater patient access to treatments in pharmerging nations continues to grow and now accounts for 13% of the market.

Targeted therapies have dramatically increased their share of the total global oncology spend, rising 14.6% CAGR during the past 5 years with steady increases across all regions. “At the same time, payers and national health systems have intensified their scrutiny of the value of these medicines relative to their incremental benefits over existing treatments, with cost effectiveness assessments frequently resulting in limited patient access to these drugs,” according to an IMS Health statement.

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