Managed Care Outlook

Oncology pharma costs to exceed $150 billion by 2020

Global oncology costs and growth, 2010-2020

EU5=France, Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom.
Pharmerging=Tier 1: China; Tier 2: Brazil, India, Russia; Tier 3 Group 1: Poland, Argentina, Turkey, Mexico, Venezuela, Romania, Saudi Arabia and Colombia; Tier 3 Group 2: Vietnam, South Africa, Algeria, Thailand, Indonesia, Egypt, Pakistan, Nigeria and Ukraine.

Worldwide costs of oncology drugs will rise above $150 billion by 2020, according to a report by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics. Many factors are in play, according to IMS, including the new wave of expensive immunotherapies. Pembrolizumab (Keytruda), priced at $150,000 per year per patient, and nivolumab (Opdivo), priced at $165,000, may be harbingers of the market for cancer immunotherapies. They came on the market in 2014, and their “rapid uptake reflect their remarkable clinical profile and successive expansion of indications,” the report states. More than 135 clinical trials involving 30 tumor types are going on for the two drugs, according to IMS.

Immuno-oncology PD-1 inhibitor uptake in the U.S.

Source: IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, “Global Oncology Trend Report: A Review of 2015 and Outlook to 2020,” June 2016

Some factors may put some downward pressure on spending for cancer drugs in the coming years. Patent expiration, for one thing, and possibly biosimilar competition as well. But tugging in the other direction are increases in prevalence and treatment rates. And if therapies become more effective, cancer patients will live longer—wonderful news but also a factor that must be taken into account for those trying to keep the cost of cancer treatment in line.

Moreover, many patients who aren’t candidates for existing cancer therapies might be eligible for the new products, the report states.


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