Oncology prescription drugs hit record sales five to seven years after launch


The evolution of the market for a drug launch can be influenced by a multitude of factors, including the therapeutic area, the indication, whether it is an innovative molecule or “me too”, the geography of the market. , off-label use outside its main indication and in competition with existing drugs.

The life cycle of most oncology drugs generally includes more than one indication. This complicates the analysis of its market adoption based on sales, as the reported sales of a drug become the aggregate of sales in all indications after obtaining a new label. GlobalData’s Pharma Intelligence Center was used to examine the evolution of the market for a drug in a single oncology indication. Oncology drugs have been selected on the basis of a single label in an indication throughout their lifecycle so far, and drugs with a launch date after 2016 have been excluded because they have not been may not yet have reached a defined peak.

Companies reported specific U.S. sales for 21 drugs, and these took a median of five years to reach their peak sales, with 95% of drugs falling in the 2-8 year range (Figure 1). EU-specific sales were reported for ten drugs, with a median of six years reaching peak sales, while 17 drugs were reported for the rest of the world (RoW), with a median of seven years for reach peak sales. There are a few outliers, such as Amgen’s Vectibix (panitumumab), which was launched for the treatment of colorectal cancer in 2006 and saw its sales in the United States increase steadily until last year, which resulted in a 14-year selling period until peak sales in a single indication. However, Spectrum Pharmaceuticals’ Beleodaq (belinostat) and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Ixempra (ixabepilone) both peaked in US sales in just two years. Since global sales are primarily driven by the U.S. market, which accounts for about 65% of all sales on average, the time to reach peak global sales in a single oncology indication averaged 5.5 years. .

The most lucrative geographies appear to be those in which peak sales have a shorter lead time. The US is the most lucrative market, followed by the EU and Japan, indicating an increasingly long time to reach peak sales with declining market value. One of the reasons for this is the ease of reimbursement in the United States, where a drug can be prescribed and reimbursed just months after being approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This is not the case in the EU, where regional reimbursement can take from several months to two years after receiving approval from the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Sales of most pharmaceuticals in Japan are reported as part of the right of way rather than separately. GlobalData assumes that the well-established Japanese market is on the lower end of the distribution line span up to the peak sales scale.

GlobalData has noticed an increased contribution from the Chinese market in the sales of oncology drugs. Although there is not enough data to examine when sales peak in China, the significant delay in including foreign drugs on the National Medical Products Administration’s (NMPA) national reimbursement list also delays when sales peak for any drug. Another reason for the delay could be that the marketing company has scaled back its marketing efforts in geographies where a lower ROI is expected, prioritizing the US and EU markets instead.

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