Global Medicines Use in 2020: Outlook and Implications

In this report, we provide an outlook on - and the implications of - the use of medicines and spending levels in 2020. We take a global view of the markets for all types of pharmaceuticals, including small and large molecules, brands and generics, those dispensed in retail pharmaceutics as well as those used in hospital or clinic settings. 

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The global use of medicines will reach 4.5 trillion doses by 2020 costing $1.4 trillion. The largest pharmaceutical-using countries will be the pharmerging markets, accounting for two-thirds of the global medicine volumes, mostly comprised of generic medicines and reflecting dramatic increases in utilization of medicines due to broad-based health system expansions. Medicines in 2020 will include a vast array of treatments ranging from those that provide symptom relief available without a prescription to lifesaving genetically personalized therapies unique to a single patient.  Disease treatments in 2020 will be transformed by the increased number and quality of new medicines in clusters of innovation around cancer, Hepatitis C, autoimmune disorders, heart disease and an array of rare diseases. By 2020, technology will be enabling more rapid changes to treatment protocols, increasing patient engagement and accountability, shifting patient-provider interaction, and accelerating the adoption of behavior changes that will improve patient adherence to treatments. 

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Below, IMS Institute Executive Director Murray Aitken discusses key findings in this report.

Key Findings

Globally Medicine Use in 2020 Will Reach 4.5 Trillion Doses, Up 24% From 2015  

  • Over 50% of the world’s population will live in countries where use of medicines is more than one dose per person per day of medicines, up from one-third of the world in 2005, driven by India, China, Brazil and Indonesia
  • Developed markets will continue to use more original branded and specialty medicines per capita while pharmerging markets will use more non-original brands, generics and over the counter medicines
  • In 2020, the use of new medicines - those introduced in the prior 10 years - will represent 0.1% of volumes in pharmerging markets compared to 2-3% in developed markets

Access to Medicines Increases by 2020 But Significant Differences Exist by Country

  • Closing the gap in per capita use of medicines differs by country; increased usage is primarily in pharmerging markets while developed markets volumes remain more stable
  • Saudi Arabia’s commitment to wider healthcare access brings it to roughly the same level of usage as the average developed market by 2020, and represents the largest increase among the pharmerging countries
  • Other countries that will see a closing of the usage gap to that of developed countries by ten percentage points or more by 2020 include Brazil, Egypt, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Turkey, Colombia and Algeria

Global Spending on Medicines Will Grow by 29-32% Through 2020, Concentrated to Developed Markets, Original Brands and the Treatment of Non-Communicable Diseases

  • Spending will increase by $349Bn over 2015, driven by brands and increased usage in pharmerging markets and offset by patent expiries as well as net price reductions of about $90Bn
  • Brand spending in developed markets will increase by $298Bn in the 5 years to 2020 driven by new products, wider usage and price increases primarily in the U.S., but will be offset by net price reductions
  • Small molecule patent expiries will have a larger impact 2016-2020 than in the prior five years, and there will be an increased impact from biologics

Innovation Drives Transformation of Disease Treatments in 2020

  • Use of medicines in 2020 will include 943 New Active Substances introduced in the prior 25 years, with new medicines in recent years weighted to specialty and biologics
  • Patients will have greater access to breakthrough therapies, clusters of innovation around hepatitis C, autoimmune diseases, heart disease and others by 2020
  • Cancer treatments represent the largest category of the 225 new medicines that are expected to be introduced within the next five years

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