Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Pharma’s Bright Future: Meet The Top 10 Drugs of 2020

Let’s review the latest edition of EvaluatePharma’s World Preview 2015, Outlook to 2020. (The document is free with site registration.) This annual report projects for prescription drug sales and R&D activity in the U.S. and abroad.

Below you'll find my handy summary table comparing 2020’s best-selling U.S. drug products with the top sellers of 2014. The report projects that, in 2020, 9 of the 10 best-selling drugs by revenue will be specialty drugs, compared with 3 drugs in 2010 and 7 in 2014.

EvaluatePharma’s predictions seem to downplay biosimilar competition. It still projects that AbbVie’s Humira will stay on top, although Humira's sales are expected to peak in 2017. You may also be surprised by the PCSK9 inhibitor forecasts.

The overall EvaluatePharma projections suggest that net sales of brand-name drugs will grow by almost 8% annually over the next six years. $400 billion will buy a lot of beer.


Here are my previous analyses of EvaluatePharma forecasts:

The table below summarizes the top 10 best-selling drugs of 2014 and 2020, based on data from the latest EvaluatePharma report. (See my comments at the bottom about the sales data.)

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Here are my observations on the forecasts:
  • Brand-name growth will be strong. For the drugs projected in EvaluatePharma’s report, U.S. sales of brand-name drugs were $252.5 billion in 2014. It projects that by 2020, brand-name sales will have reached $395.1 billion, which represents a compound average growth rate (CAGR) of 7.7%. Note that these figures only account for the brand-name drugs with an individual product-level forecast. 
  • Sovaldi beat Humira (in the U.S.)  Gildead Sciences's Sovaldi debuted as the top-selling U.S. product in 2014, while AbbVie's Humira dropped to second place. However, Humira’s worldwide sales were still larger than Sovaldi’s sales. (See page 63 of report.) What’s more, EvaluatePharma predicts that Harvoni will be the eighth best-selling drug in 2020, while Sovaldi will not even rank among the top 50.
  • Will PCKS9 inhibitors disappoint? EvaluatePharma projects that 2020 worldwide net sales of anti-PCSK9 products from Amgen (Repatha) and Sanofi/Regeneron (Praluent) will be only $2.2 billion and $1.9 billion. These figures are lower than other analysts’ estimates.
  • EvaluatePharma still suggests limited biosimilar penetration. Last year, EvaluatePharma projected that Sanofi's Lantus sales would grow from $5.3 billion in 2013 to $6.5 billion in 2020. In this year’s report, Evaluate Pharma projects that biosimilar launches will reduce Lantus’s sales to $3.0 billion in 2020. (EvaluatePharma doesn’t project that Sanofi’s follow-on product Toujeo will be in the top 50 by 2020.) Meanwhile, Humira, which is being targeted by at least a dozen biosimilar development projects, is projected to remain the best-selling drug in 2020. When I asked EvaluatePharma about potential Humira biosimilar competitors, it provided me with the following projection showing peak sales in 2017.
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EvaluatePharma reports net sales, so the figures are typically comparable with the companies’ reported financials. These data provide a more accurate picture than the IMS Health data, which report something called “non-discounted spending.” The IMS data exclude managed care rebates and discounts, so those data overestimate the relative sales position of products with large gross-to-net discounts.

For example, IMS Health ranks Nexium as 2014’s fourth best-selling drug, with “non-discounted spending” of $5.9 billion. EvaluatePharma ranks Nexium as 2014’s 24th best-selling drug, with “USA Product Sales” of $1.9 billion.


Despite the media's rhetoric about drug prices, the pharma industry sure looks heavenly blessed and worldly wise. But will EvaluatePharma's projections get a good grade?

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