US Prescription Drug Spending to Hit $610 billion in 2021, according to Quintiles/IMS

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Forecasts were lowered, Reuters reported, due to reduced drug approvals and increased competitive pressures.

According to the Quintiles/IMS’s latest forecast, US spending on prescription medications will rise between four and seven percent annually over the next four years, reaching between $580 billion to $610 billion by 2021, Reuters reported on May 4, 2017. 

Quintiles/IMS analysts reportedly reduced their previous long-term growth projections due to the fact that fewer drugs were approved in 2016 (22 drugs were approved last year, compared with 45 in 2015) than in previous years, and competitive and pricing pressures had increased.

According to Quintiles/IMS, Reuters reported, taking manufacturer discounts and rebates into account, spending would grow between two and five percent, as price increases for name brand pharmaceuticals taper off.  So far, many Big Pharma companies have pledged to limit annual price increases to less than 10 percent, Reuters reported.

Quintiles/IMS forecasts call for more biosimilars to enter the market, and expects product introductions to pick up in 2019, when 40 to 45 new brand launches should be seen each year through 2021, Reuters reported.


Quintiles/IMS found more than 2,300 novel products in later stage development, including more than 600 oncology drugs, and approvals for this year are already running ahead of where they were at this time in 2015.

Driving growth through 2021 will be treatments for chronic conditions such as hypertension.  Overall, use of pain medicines has declined by 1%, due to concerns about opioid diversion and addiction, Reuters reported.