IMS Health: Global spending on medicines to reach nearly $1.1 trillion by 2015

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — Global spending on medicines will reach nearly $1.1 trillion by 2015, according to a new study by market research firm IMS Health.

In particular, the study — titled “The Global Use of Medicines: Outlook Through 2015” — found that the share of money spent on branded drugs will decline due to patent expiries and growing use of generics, with spending on branded drugs in developed countries set to remain at the same level in 2015 as in 2010. Meanwhile, the market share for branded drugs, which declined from 70% in 2005 to 64% in 2010, will fall to 53% by 2015. In emerging markets, 80 cents of every dollar spent on drugs that year will be for generics.

While patent expiries mean lower revenues for big drug companies, they also mean more savings for payers in developed countries, which are expected to save $98 billion through 2015. The United States is expected to have the largest expansion in spending on generics, while Japan will still have the lowest, despite policy incentives designed to encourage generic utilization.

“The future level of spending on medicines has striking implications for healthcare systems and policy-makers across the developed and emerging economies,” IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics executive director Murray Aitken said. “Past patterns of spending offer few clues about the level of expected growth through 2015.”

Specialty drugs likely will see growth as well. IMS pointed to recent and upcoming launches of drugs for multiple sclerosis and cancer, while spending on biosimilars will exceed $2 billion per year by 2015, compared with $311 million in 2010. New biosimilars are expected to enter the U.S. market by 2014, and globally, biosimilars will account for about 1% of total spending on biologics.

In addition to significant growth in cancer drugs, diabetes drugs are expected to see spending growth as well, thanks to newer oral drugs and increasing prevalence of the disease; meanwhile, spending growth on lipid regulators and drugs for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is expected to slow.

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