Pricing Pressure Drives Down Drug Sales Forecasts

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Drug sales forecasts fall for first time in 10 years, thanks to pressures to reduce drug prices and the advent of biosimilars.

Public scrutiny of pricing strategies for medicines is impacting drug sales growth, lowering forecasts for drug sales over the next five years, according to the Evaluate Pharma’s World Preview report released on June 20, 2017 at the BIO convention in San Diego.

The report forecasts worldwide prescription drug sales to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 6.5% through 2022 hitting $1.06 trillion in 2022. This number, however, is down from the $1.12 trillion analysts forecasted for the same period last year. The drop is the first time in 10 years of Evaluate analysis that total drug sales have failed to beat previous year forecasts, the report states.

The report also found that patent expiries and competition from biosimilars could wipe out $194 billion of pharma sales during 2016–2022, potentially signaling a second patent cliff.

According to the report, sales of cancer immunotherapies like Keytruda and Opdivo are expected to help move the sector to the  $1 trillion sales target; orphan drugs are expected to make up one-third of pharma sales by 2022.


 “The continued political and public scrutiny over pricing of both the industry’s new and old drugs is not going to go away, and we are starting to feel the impact now. Market access is becoming harder, as seen by the disappointing sales of the drugs like Repatha, Praluent, and Nucala. And the increasing cost of taking a novel therapy to market, now at $4 bllion over the last 10 years, puts additional pressure on the productivity of the industry and its longer term sustainability,“ said Antonio Iervolino, head of forecasting, Evaluate.

Some drivers for industry growth include a $522 million average value of new approvals in 2016 (based on US sales post launch), which were above the 2010–2015 average. And, after a down year for FDA drug approvals in 2016 versus recent years, the report authors expect an increase in 2017.

Source: Evaluate Pharma