Spending on cancer medicines totaled $107 billion worldwide in 2015 and is projected to exceed $150 billion by 2020, reflecting adoption of newer, pricier therapies, according to a report from the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics.
Price hikes on older medicines as well as increasing numbers of patients receiving treatment, and for longer durations, are also driving up spending, IMS reported Thursday. The total increase for 2015 was 11.5 percent from the previous year, on a constant dollar basis.
The price of drugs has dominated national conversation amid the U.S. presidential election and weighed on pharmaceutical stocks. It's been a major theme at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting the past several years, as researchers discuss what they call a newer side effect of many cancer medicines: financial toxicity. This year's conference kicks off Friday in Chicago.
"Not surprisingly, payers are seeking assurance of the value that results from their expenditure on these drugs," the IMS report's authors, Murray Aitken and Michael Kleinrock, wrote in their summary. "This tension can be expected to intensify over the next five years as a strong pipeline of clinically distinctive therapies reaches a growing number of patients around the world."