Thursday, July 10, 2014

Future Vision: The Top 10 Drugs of 2020

Professional prognosticator EvaluatePharma recently released World Preview 2014, Outlook to 2020. (The report is free with site registration.) This report projects for prescription drug sales and R&D activity in the U.S. and abroad.

Below is my handy summary table comparing 2020’s best-selling U.S. drug products with the top sellers of 2013. The number of specialty drugs in the top 10 keeps rising. In 2020, 9 of the 10 best-selling drugs by revenue are projected to be specialty drugs, compared with 3 drugs in 2010 and 6 in 2013. EvaluatePharma predicts that AbbVie’s Humira will stay on top. You might be surprised at the Solvadi forecast.

One oddity: EvaluatePharma doesn’t expect biosimilars to do much harm to 2020’s top drugs. See if you agree.

Here are my analyses of two previous EvaluatePharma forecasts:

Here’s our summary of the top 10 best-selling drugs, compiled from the EvaluatePharma report.

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Fun fact: 2013’s top 10 accounted for 17% of total U.S. sales. However, 2020’s top 10 are projected to account for only 12% of total US sales.

EvaluatePharma predicts that Sovaldi will be the fifth best-selling drug by 2020. This projection seems especially low, given sales to date. Perhaps they expect sales to slow, as patients are cured? BTW, that’s the story in the Pharmalot article What Impact Will Hepatitis C Drugs Have on Medical Costs? Look Here. (Yes, Pharmalot lives again!)

Note that many of 2020’s top 10 are targets for biosimilar development. (See GaBI's Biosimilars on the horizon.) In response to my question, an EvaluatePharma spokesperson told me:
“As there is no precedent of biosimilar products entering the US market, the impact of such entry is still largely unknown. Equity Analysts are forecasting some erosion of sales due to bio-similar entry; however, it is nowhere near as dramatic as has traditionally been the case for conventional drugs.”
Hmmm, we’ll see. In the meantime, check out Seven Trends for Specialty Pharmacy's Future for insights on how manufacturers are organizing for our specialty future.


The chart below, which appears on page 12 of the EvaluatePharma report, ranks the top 10 companies of 2020 by worldwide sales. The dots show compound average growth rates (CAGR). With the notable exceptions of Novo Nordisk and Gilead Sciences, growth rates will stay in the low single digits for the global pharma companies. You can see the complete top 20 in the report.

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Global market share for the top 20 companies will drop from 64.3% in 2013 to 57.0% in 2020. As usual, EvaluatePharma wisely avoids predicting M&A transactions that would scramble its rankings.

Come back in six years and we'll see if EvaluatePharma was right.


  1. Dr Fein, In your opinion, how accurate has this publication's forecasts been in the past?