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Global market for cancer therapies balloons to $107 billion in 2015

Growth attributed to dozens of new therapies launched in the last five years and steady surge in innovation, study shows.

Beth Jones Sanborn, Managing Editor

The global market for oncology drugs swelled to $107 billion in 2015, fueled by a steady surge of innovation and new therapies that flooded the market, a new study released by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics revealed. More than 70 new cancer treatments have launched in the last five years, and more than 20 tumor types now have new adversaries because of them.

The study, called Global Oncology Trend Report: A Review of 2015 and Outlook to 2020, showed an 11.5 percent increase in growth in global spending on oncology therapeutics and supportive care drugs in constant dollars, which are adjusted for inflation. The growth was calculated using ex-manufacturer prices, and does not reflect off-invoice discounts, rebates or patient access programs.

Projected annual global growth in the oncology drug market is forecasted at 7.5 – 10.5 percent through 2020, which would translate to $150 billion. Utilization of new products, especially immunotherapies, is expected to drive much of the growth.

[Also: Vice President Joe Biden on cancer moonshot: Developers 'need to break down silos']

Payers may also put up more of a fight with manufacturers and adopt new payment models in the hopes of driving more value from what they spend on the drugs, the study said.

More than 500 companies around the world are developing new oncology drugs. Together, these companies are advancing nearly 600 new molecules through late-stage clinical development, most frequently for non-small cell lung cancer and breast, prostate, ovarian and colorectal cancers.

However, many of these drugs are not yet available to patients in many countries, and even when registered they may not be reimbursed under public insurance programs, the study pointed out.

[Also: Cancer drug shortages create greater risk, costs]

"The new science redefining cancer as a large number of narrowly defined diseases and yielding therapeutic options for an expanding number of patients is rapidly transforming the oncology treatment landscape," said Murray Aitken, IMS Health senior vice president and executive director of the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics. "Most health systems are struggling to adapt and embrace this evolution--including the regulatory systems, skilled professionals, diagnostic and treatment infrastructures, and financing mechanisms that are required to serve the needs of cancer patients around the world. These challenges demand urgent attention in light of the strong near-term pipeline of clinically distinctive therapies, and new programs such as the U.S. government's 'cancer moon shot' that are galvanizing research efforts to change the trajectory of cancer."

Twitter: @BethJSanborn

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