Global Cancer Spending Reaches $100b

Global Cancer Spending Reaches $100bGlobal Cancer Spending Reaches $100b

The cost of paying for cancer treatment is rising, in large part to better treatments and longer survival rates.

Global spending on cancer medications rose 10.3 percent in 2014 to $100 billion, up from $75 billion in 2010, according to the Global Oncology Trend Report, released Tuesday by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, reports

“We’ve made huge progress from a scientific perspective in understanding cancer,” says Murray Aitken, executive director of the IMS Institute, a global information and technology services company. “It’s not a single disease but so many sub-diseases. ... We’re at the edge of a major breakthrough in terms of cancer treatment.”

The report follows one from IMS Health released in April, which found that overall U.S. spending on drugs reached $373.9 billion in 2014 – a record high. This is largely attributable to the kinds of drugs on the market. Pharmaceutical companies are investing more and more in specialty medicines, such as complex, injected drugs rather than conventional treatments like pills. Spending on such specialty medicines grew 26.5% and accounted for one-third of medicine spending, up from 23% of the total spent five years ago.

The report also found that the number of new, more complex drugs is on the rise. Pharmaceutical companies have produced 45 new drugs from 2010 to 2014 for 53 uses. In 2014, there were 10 new drugs launched globally, including five biologic therapies.

These spending rates are increasing because the medicines for treating cancer aren’t only more expensive – they are better.

 Total Spending

The U.S. spends more on cancer drugs than any other country, making up 42.2% of total spending. Targeted therapies account for nearly 50% of the total and had been growing at a year-over-year growth rate of 14.6% during the past five years, the report said.

In the European Union, oncology represents 14.7% of total drug spending, up from 13.3% in 2010. In comparison, the U.S. has seen oncology increase from 10.7% to 11.3% of total drug spending during the same period.

When broken down by the total population, the report found the U.S. spent $99 per person? in 2014, up from $71 in 2010. Most other countries showed the same growth, with the exception of Spain, where per capita spending has been flat. The percentage increase was largest in the United Kingdom, at 67%.  “While we’ve made progress we still have a long way to go to win the war on cancer,” Aitken says. “It takes time for new cancer treatments that may be initially adopted in a small number of academic medical centers to make their ways to community oncologists throughout the country. We should look into how we can accelerate that.”