QuintilesIMS Institute: global drug market to reach $1.5tn in 2021

By Melissa Fassbender contact

- Last updated on GMT

The report, Outlook for Global Medicines Through 2021: Balancing Cost and Value, found annual spending growth is expected to rebalance. (Images: iStock/michaelquirk)
The report, Outlook for Global Medicines Through 2021: Balancing Cost and Value, found annual spending growth is expected to rebalance. (Images: iStock/michaelquirk)
Total spending on medicines is expected to reach $1.5 trillion by 2021, up 33% from 2016 – with historical amounts of new medicines emerging from the pipeline, according to a recent report by QuintilesIMS Institute.

Michael Kleinrock, director of research at QuintilesIMS Institute and co-author of the most recent Global Use of Medicines report, told Outsourcing-Pharma.com that overall global growth in 2014 and 2015 was driven by one-time events.

The US growth in 2014 and 2015 was driven by one-time anomalies, which drove global growth – as a result, Europe is very much focused on avoiding unexpected drug spend growth in the future, and pharmerging market volume growth will slow​,” he explained.

However, moving forward the next five years that growth is expected to return to “a more sustainable level​.”

While historically large numbers of high-quality new medicines will emerge from the R&D pipeline in the next five years, pricing and market access pressures, lower volume growth in pharmerging markets and greater savings from patent expiries will contribute to the lower rate of growth​,” added Kleinrock.

Other key takeaways from the QuintilesIMS Institute:

  • The US will contribute 53% of forecasted growth over the next five years.
  • China will remain the second largest market contributing 12% of the growth.
  • New drug launches will reach historically high levels in the next five years.
  • More than 2,000 drugs in the late-stage pipeline will yield an expected 45 new active substances (NAS) on average annually through 2021. 

Specifically, the report found that medicine spending will grow at a 4% to 7% compound annual rate during the next five years – down from the approximate 9% growth level in 2014 and 2015.

Growth in the industry has historically come from multiple geographies, but in the report’s forecast, more than half of it will come from the US​,” said Kleinrock.

As such, he explained projected slowing growth and regulatory dynamics within the European and pharmerging markets are important factors for the industry to consider and focus on over the next several years.

The strong pipeline is exciting as it is a positive note in contrast to the payer-driven concern about cost and access trends​,” added Kleinrock.

This pipeline features a large number of new mechanisms in development, according to Kleinrock, including immunology both inside and outside cancer, as well as new platforms such as gene-editing, cell therapies among others.

The indications that healthcare is trending toward a more sustainable footing going forward is good for our key customers, and for their key customers, so this is a positive sign for QuintilesIMS​,” added Kleinrock.

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