Global Outlook for Medicines Through 2018

In this report, we provide an outlook on the use of medicines and spending levels through 2018. 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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Global spending on medicines is forecast to reach nearly $1.3 trillion by 2018, an increase of about 30% over the 2013 level. This level of growth—a compound annual growth rate of 4-7% on a constant currency basis—will be slightly higher than the 5.2% recorded over the past five years, as the introduction of new specialty medicines and increased accessibility for patients coincides with lower impacts from patent expiries in developed markets. 

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Below, IMS Institute Executive Director Murray Aitken discusses three key findings in this report. Click here to view additional videos from this report.

Key Findings

The Global Pharmaceutical Market is Expected to Grow to Nearly $1.3 Trillion by 2018

  • Global economic recovery continued in 2013 and is expected to strengthen during the first half of the forecast period
  • Significant downside risks remain due to uneven economic recovery in Europe, political tension in Russia and recent events in Africa and the Middle East
  • The global population aged 65 and over will grow faster than any other age segment, and will account for almost 30% of overall population growth in the next five years

North America Continues to Contribute the Largest Proportion to Growth, but Asia is Gaining

  • Strong economic recovery in the U.S. and recent healthcare reform have already had a positive impact on the use of medicines and will grow the market through the first half of the forecast period
  • Drug spending in Europe will remain limited by a weak economic recovery, low population growth and continued efforts to reduce public debt, including healthcare and drug spend
  • Southeast and East Asia will grow at twice the global average, driven by population growth, rising incomes and improved access to healthcare


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