Figures released by IMS Health’s Global Oncology Trend Report on Tuesday suggest that better and more expensive treatments are today contributing to the increased expenditure on oncology. The global spending on cancer medications rose 10.3 percent in 2014 to $100 billion, up from $75 billion in 2010.
The $100 billion represents 10.8 percent of all drug spending globally and includes supportive care drugs to address side-effects of treatments like nausea and anemia.
This huge increase is driven primarily by the newer treatments in developed markets which do promise longer survival rates but come with significantly higher price tags.
A forecast by the same agency sees this expenditure rising to a phenomenal $117-$147 billion in 2018, meaning thereby that it will continue to grow at a compound rate of 6-8 percent annually.
“We’ve made huge progress from a scientific perspective in understanding cancer,” says Murray Aitken, executive director of the IMS Institute, a global information and technology services company. “It’s not a single disease but so many sub-diseases. … We’re at the edge of a major breakthrough in terms of cancer treatment. It’s a very exciting time.”
“We’re in for a period of intense competition among alternative treatments, which is a different dynamic than we’ve seen in the past where the progress has been a little slower and individual drugs had a little more time,” he added.
USA alone accounted for 42.2 percent of the total spending, the American oncology spending increasing from 11.3 percent of the total from 10.7% in 2010. The Americans were followed by top-five European markets, comprising of Germany, France, Britain, Spain and Italy.
The cancer spending in these top five European markets rose to 14.7% of total drug spending, up from 13.3% during the same period.
The report also mentioned that the number of newer, more complex drugs being introduced is on the rise. Pharmaceutical companies produced 45 new drugs from 2010 to 2014 for 53 uses. In 2014 alone, 10 new drugs were launched globally, five of which were biologic therapies.