Drug Spending in U.S. Will Grow at Annual Rate of 6% to 9% in Next Five Years, Report Predicts

Spending to reach $675 billion by 2021

Global spending on prescription drugs will reach nearly $1.5 trillion by 2021, although the annual rate of growth will decrease from recent years, according to a forecast by QuintilesIMS Holdings. Spending in the United States is expected to account for more than half of global growth over the five-year period, at a compound annual rate of 6% to 9%, or 4% to 7% when discounts and rebates are considered.

QuintilesIMS regularly tracks prescription drug data for the pharmaceutical industry.

The report projects a slowdown in price increases for U.S. branded drugs, possibly as a result of rising political pressure. It sees annual wholesale price increases of 8% to 11% and net prices rising 2% to 5% by 2021.

The report predicts an average of 45 new drug launches each year––a historically high rate. While many will be expensive treatments, the report sees rising costs partially offset by more drugs going off patent than during the previous five years. That includes the anticipated effect of more biosimilars entering the U.S. market. The report predicts savings of $27 billion to $58 billion in the U.S. from the use of biosimilars over the next five years.

On the global scene, economic slowdowns in Europe and emerging markets, such as China, Brazil, and Russia, will contribute to an overall drag on spending growth and will slow plans to expand access to more medications, the report said. The compound annual growth rate of drug spending in Europe is estimated at just 1% to 4% through 2021.

Source: Reuters; December 6, 2016.