Global pre­scrip­tion drug spend seen at $1.5 tril­lion in 2021

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -

Global spend­ing on pre­scrip­tion medicines will reach nearly $1.5 tril­lion by 2021, al­though the an­nual rate of growth will de­crease from re­cent years, ac­cord­ing to a fore­cast by Quin­tiles IMS Hold­ing re­leased on Tues­day.

That fig­ure, based on whole­sale pric­ing, is up nearly $370 bil­lion from es­ti­mated 2016 spend­ing. The United States will ac­count for up to $675 bil­lion of the $1.5 tril­lion. When ac­count­ing for an­tic­i­pated dis­counts and re­bates to health in­sur­ers and other pay­ers, 2021 net spend­ing will be closer to $1 tril­lion, the Quin­tilesIMS Out­look for Global Medicines through 2021 re­port found. An­nual spend­ing growth over the next five years is fore­cast at 4-7 per­cent, pri­mar­ily driven by newer medicines for can­cer, di­a­betes and au­toim­mune dis­eases in de­vel­oped mar­kets. That com­pares with spend­ing growth of nearly 9 per­cent in 2014 and 2015 fu­eled in part by surg­ing de­mand for new hepati­tis C cures that has since lev­eled off. “Af­ter two years of un­ex­pect­edly high lev­els of growth, we are re­turn­ing to a more bal­anced and sus­tain­able level of ex­pan­sion that we think health sys­tems and pay­ers will be able to man­age,” Mur­ray Aitken, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Quin­tilesIMS In­sti­tute which com­piled the data, said in an in­ter­view. Quin­tilesIMS reg­u­larly tracks pre­scrip­tion drug data for the in­dus­try. Spend­ing in the United States, the largest mar­ket with by far the high­est drug prices, is ex­pected to ac­count for more than half of global growth over the pe­riod, at a com­pound an­nual rate of 6 to 9 per­cent, or 4 to 7 per­cent in­clud­ing dis­counts and re­bates. That is down from 12 per­cent spend­ing growth in 2015.

The re­port projects a slow­down in US branded drug price in­creases, pos­si­bly a re­sult of ris­ing po­lit­i­cal pres­sure. It sees an­nual whole­sale price in­creases of 8 to 11 per­cent and net prices ris­ing 2 to 5 per­cent.

The re­port pre­dicts an av­er­age of 45 new drug launches each year, a his­tor­i­cally high rate. While many will be very ex­pen­sive treat­ments, the re­port sees ris­ing costs par­tially off­set by a higher level of drugs go­ing off patent than in the pre­vi­ous five years. That in­cludes the an­tic­i­pated ef­fect of more biosim­i­lars - cheaper ver­sions of high-priced biotech medicines - en­ter­ing the mar­ket. “We are pro­ject­ing they will have a to­tal im­pact over the next five years in the range of $27 bil­lion to $58 bil­lion in sav­ings in the US mar­ket,” Aitken said.

Eco­nomic slow­downs in Europe and emerg­ing mar­kets, such as China, Brazil and Rus­sia, will con­trib­ute to an over­all drag on spend­ing growth and slow plans to ex­pand ac­cess to more medicines, the re­port said. For ex­am­ple, China is ex­pected to spend be­tween $150 bil­lion and $180 bil­lion in 2021, but an­nual spend­ing growth for medicines will fall to less than 7 per­cent over the next five years from about 14 per­cent over the prior five. The com­pound an­nual growth rate of drug spend­ing in Europe is es­ti­mated at just 1 to 4 per­cent through 2021. “Eco­nomic growth re­mains rel­a­tively weak across Europe, so that con­strains ex­pan­sion in health­care and drug bud­gets,” Aitken said.

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