Global spending on cancer drugs tops US$100bn

Global spending on cancer drugs now tops US$100bn, a 10.3% rise over the past 12 months, with targeted therapies making up 48% of the total spend, according to a new report from the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics.

Future spending on cancer drugs over the next three years is expected to increase by between 6% and 8%, the Global Oncology Trends Report 2015[1]

In Europe, cancer drug spending represents 14.7% of the total drug spending for five of the EU’s biggest countries, known as EU5 and made up of the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. For these countries, oncology’s share of the total drugs bill in 2014 was up 1.4 percentage points from 13.3% in 2010. The increase was more modest in the United States where oncology drug spending went up from 10.7% of total drug spending to 11.3% over the same period, according to the report published on 5 May 2015.

The report adds, however, that where cancer drugs are available, patient access to them is limited by cost effectiveness calculations. These calculations, it warns, are becoming more complex because fewer new drugs have single indications; by 2020 it will be common for a single drug to have three or more indications.

The report says there is a strong pipeline of cancer drugs in development that will increase competition in the marketplace. It predicts fierce competition for non-small cell lung cancer drugs, as well as Pi3K/mTOR/AKT inhibitors that target multiple tumours.


[1] IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics. Developments in cancer treatments, market dynamics, patient access and value: Global oncology trend report 2015. May 2015.

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, 9/16 May 2015, Vol 294, No 7861/2;294(7861/2):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2015.20068492

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