Thursday, May 15, 2008

Cancer drug sales may rise to $80 billion by 2011

The global market for cancer drugs will grow twice as fast as that for all other pharmaceuticals as the developing world spends more on health care. It could reach $80 billion by 2012, according to IMS Health, which tracks prescription drug sales.

IMS noted that expensive new treatments, coupled with an increasing number of patients on chemotherapy in major markets and evidence that more people in emerging markets are gaining access to modern targeted therapies will contribute to sales of cancer drugs growing at a compound rate of 12 to 15 percent.

In 2008, sales of oncology products will exceed $48 billion, contributing nearly 17 percent of global pharmaceutical sales growth this year, led by Genentech's breast cancer drug Herceptin, Novartis' leukemia drug Gleevec and other blockbusters, according to IMS.

The cancer market may see double-digit sales growth, fueled by increased use of targeted therapeutic agents introduced over the past 10 years, along with first-time innovations coming to the market and chronic treatment for growing numbers of patients. China, Brazil, Russia and other emerging countries are also becoming bigger customers for pharmaceuticals as they invest more in treating and diagnosing cancer.

IMS expects growth to be fueled by the introduction of 25 to 30 new chemical entities between 2008 and 2012, as expensive new biotechnology drugs and the increasing use of combination therapies contribute to the exploding cost of treatment.

Data from clinical studies of many of the newest cancer drugs will be presented and discussed at the nation's largest oncology meeting later this month in Chicago. Much of the data will be unveiled on Thursday ahead of the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting.

There are several factors that could moderate growth over the next five years. They include financial constraints of payers, slowing growth of some current blockbuster therapies and patent expirations of four cancer drugs with annual sales exceeding $1 billion, including Eli Lilly's Gemzar and Taxotere from Sanofi-Aventis.

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