Oncology remains market-leading therapy area with $142bn sales in 2019

In a global prescription drug market worth over $600bn, oncology has become the dominant area, claiming a market share of 23.4% as of 2019, followed by immunology at 12.4% and metabolic disorders at 10.8% according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

GlobalData’s analysis of a proprietary dataset shows that global drug sales with oncology as their key therapy area in 2019 reached $142bn, having sustained a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.4% since 2000.

Sakis Paliouras, PhD, Oncology Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Oncology drug sales growth has been extremely impressive, increasing from 7.6% to 23.4% over 20 years. While immunology and genetic disorders have sustained the highest CAGRs over 20 years at 18.5% and 18.3%, respectively, oncology seems to operate on a different scale, having sales that nearly doubled since 2013 and being the only therapy area to ever cross the $100bn/year mark.”

Oncology drug sales started rising above other therapy areas after 2015 and have continued increasing at a steep pace. Other disease areas have plateaued, with cardiovascular and respiratory indications having seen no growth after 2011.

A larger number of available drugs does not explain this difference, as infectious diseases and metabolic disorders have significantly more drugs available than oncology, albeit with far fewer total sales. GlobalData attributes the sales gap to a combination of a higher number of blockbuster drugs in oncology and a higher number of new market entrants in oncology since 2015.

Paliouras concludes: “There has never been a more exciting time in oncology, with years of research and development (R&D) efforts now being rewarded with great commercial success. Furthermore, a large number of oncology indications remain underserved, highlighting an opportunity for continuous clinical research that will result in the value of this market exploding further.”

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