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Worldwide Prescription Drug Sales to Exceed Trillion Dollar Mark by 2020

June 24, 2014
The pharmaceutical industry will top the one trillion dollar mark by 2020, according to new consensus forecast data found in the annual state of the industry report,  “World Preview 2014, Outlook to 2020” from market intelligence firm, Evaluate. The report, which launched today at the 2014 BIO international Convention, finds that worldwide prescription drug sales will reach $1,107 bn by 2020. This milestone is particularly pertinent as it proves that after two years of sales stagnation, the patent cliff is but a distant memory and the industry can finally look forward to continued growth.

Much of this anticipated growth is attributed to dramatically improved R&D productivity, two years of record breaking new drug approvals, and a hefty R&D pipeline. The increased speed at which new technologies move through the pipeline and hit the market and the ability of companies to collectively demonstrate rapid increases in shareholder value (NPV) through R&D pipeline progression of early stage assets could be the missing component that will bring back investor confidence.

While the forecasted average growth of 1.5 percent per year for prescription sales is certainly something to celebrate, the debate over drug pricing spurred by the approval of Gilead Science’s costly hepatitis C drug, Sovaldi, continues to stir up controversy. The pricing debate will only intensify as the industry continues to shift away from primary care and new technology waves offer innovative products that potentially take costs out of healthcare. But don’t expect easy discussions on products offering marginal benefits over generic products, which grew 5 percent in 2013 to 68.5bn.

Here’s a look at some of the report’s key findings:

  • Worldwide prescription drug sales forecast to reach  $1,017bn by 2020, equating to an average growth of 5.1 percent per year from 2013 to 2020

  • The quality of new drugs (NME/BLA) approved by the FDA in 2013 increased by 43 percent from 2012 with a sales potential of $24.4bn marking a step-change in innovation and output for the industry since 2009

  • Biologicals will account for 52 percent of the top 100 prescription & OTC drug sales in 2020 and 27 percent of the total worldwide market

  • Humira will continue it’s reign as the world’s largest selling product in 2020 with worldwide sales forecast to reach $12.7bn while Bristol-Myers Squibb’s anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody, Nivolumab, will become the most valuable R&D product at $23bn

  • Novartis takes top company by worldwide Rx sales in 2013 spot and is expected to remain so through 2020; Teva Pharmaceutical remains leading generic drug maker in 2013

EvaluatePharma-World-Preview-2014-Outlook-to-2020-Infographic v2

The report and corresponding infographic are available for download at


Paul Hills is the “World Preview 2014, Outlook to 2020” report author and Evaluate’s Head of Operations