Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Meet the Top Ten Drugs of 2018

Professional prognosticator EvaluatePharma recently released its World Preview 2013, Outlook to 2018 report, which projects prescription drug sales and R&D activity in the U.S. and abroad. (The report is free with site registration.) You’ll find predictions for the 50 best-selling U.S. drug products on page 25.

Below is my handy summary chart comparing the 2018 list with 2012’s top sellers. Since I last looked at these projections (in Top Ten Drugs of 2016), the list has changed significantly. Highlights of the latest forecasts:
  • The number of specialty drugs in the top 10 has dropped vs. the 2016 projections. In 2018, 6 of the 10 best-selling drugs by revenue are projected to be specialty drugs, compared with 3 drugs in 2010 and 5 in 2012.
  • The 2018 top 10 U.S. drugs have projected total revenues of $39.7 billion, which will amount to only $2.1 billion more than the top 10 in 2012. Consequently, 2018’s top 10 will also account for a smaller industry share than that of their 2012 counterparts.
Tomorrow’s best-sellers are more likely to target smaller patient populations that have the blockbusters of the past, consistent with the market level projections that I discuss in More Drug Trend Forecasts. Regardless of EvaluatePharma’s ultimate accuracy, it’s clear that the world is changing, so your commercial and channel strategies should change, too. Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today. (Sorry, I meant to tell you that yesterday.)


Here’s a summary of the top 10 best-selling drugs as reported in the EvaluatePharma report, pages 25 and 37. (Click to enlarge.)

For the drugs projected in EvaluatePharma’s report, total domestic manufacturer sales of brand-name drugs were $246.0 billion in 2012. (See page 25.) By 2018, total brand sales are projected to be $296.4 billion, which represents a compound average growth rate (CAGR) of 3.2%. Most of 2018’s top 10 will grow more quickly.


The table below, which appears on page 12 of the report, shows 2018’s top companies ranked by worldwide sales,. With a few exceptions, growth rates will be low to negative for most large pharma companies. (Click to enlarge.)

Global market share for the top 20 companies will drop from 66.0% in 2012 to 59.1% in 2018. As usual, EvaluatePharma wisely avoids predicting M&A transactions that would alter the rankings.

I can't hardly wait ... to see how these forecasts play out.


  1. Interesting that Novartis appears as #1 but does not have a drug listed in that top 10. Could their strong position in generics have anything to do with this ?

  2. Gilead sciences +15% in 2018??? should get job or get stock op in 2017

  3. My prognostication is that this dynamic will also change how manufacturers engage in distribution with the 'Big 3'. And the opportunity for aggressive, smaller wholesalers to gain share.

  4. Avastin should probably be on the list as well.

  5. Avastin just missed the top 10. EvaluatePharma projects Avastin's 2018 domestic sales to be $2.8 billion, which places it as #11. See page 25 of the full report.

  6. slow but steady runner in this big market.