Oncology is now a $100-billion global market, growing 6-8% annually over the next five years

IMS Institute report finds variations in access

Oncology, the “emperor of all maladies,” as the recent PBS television series named it, has been a headline topic for the best and worst reasons. Best: new therapies are streaming onto the market, and will continue for a while to come, with some significant success in improving survival; worst: the high cost of some of these therapies, which challenge payers and patients alike. In its annual Global Oncology Trend Report, IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics sees a broader picture of rising (but not extreme) costs, gradual improvement in survivorship, and a more fraught relationship between reimbursement, outcomes and access.

The numbers: oncology products (including supportive care, but not including off-invoice discounting) reached the $100-billion level in 2014, up from $75 billion in 2009. US costs over the past five years, surprisingly, have grown at a slightly lower CAGR—5.5%--than the global figure of 6.5%. Patient response rates have improved by 42% and treatment duration by 45%. A particular pain point for US patients: out-of-pocket costs rose 71% from 2012 to 2013 for intravenous cancer drugs, “reflecting changes in plan designs and increased outpatient facility costs.” (that last point was emphasized by the recently released EMD Serono Speicalty Drug Report, which noted that “site of care” is now a key component in payer cost-control efforts.)

Of 37 new molecular entities (NMEs) launched during 2009-2013 and available (somewhere in the world) in 2014, the US has the highest access—31 drugs. Elsewhere, access is more limited: 28 in Germany and the UK; 23 in Canada and France; 18 in Japan. Going forward, combination therapies of more than one drug will be a pronounced trend; there were four in the US in 2014, and that is expected to rise to as many as 19 in 2019, and even more beyond that.

The full report, Developments in Cancer Treatments, Market Dynamics, Patient Access and Value: Global Oncology Trend Report, is available at the IMS Institute website.