ELECTRONICALLY REPRINTED FROM JUNE 2014
Pharma 50 Insight:
The Accelerating Growth of Specialty Markets
By Waseem Noor and Michael Kleinrock, IMS
highlight of the Pharma 50 ranking over the last few years is the steady upward trajectory of
companies with a strong franchise in
specialty medicines. Specialty markets
are appealing to companies that have
a strong research and development
pipeline, are prioritizing serious unmet
medical needs, and are taking a more
personalized approach to the traditional relationship between physicians and patients. This is why we find it appropriate to examine in more detail the factors that drive success in the specialty drug market as well as likely key areas
of growth in this segment over the next
Overall, this market has experienced significant expansion since the turn of the decade, with steady gains
2013 Rx Sales 2013 R&D
(USD in mln)
(USD in mln)
Drugs [USD in mln]
Prevnar 13 [3,974]
Merck & Co
Johnson & Johnson
Basel, Switzerland [novartis.com]
New York, New York [pfizer.com]
Basel, Switzerland [roche.com]
Paris, France [sanofi.com]
Whitehouse Station, New Jersey [merck.com]
Brentford, England [gsk.com]
New Brunswick, New Jersey [jnj.com]
London, England [astrazeneca.com]
Indianapolis, Indiana [lilly.com]
North Chicago, Illinois [abbvie.com]
Sources: Company financial statements, SEC 10k reports, other Pharm Exec estimates, and contributions from the EvaluatePharma industry sales surveys.
JUNE 2014 www.PharmExec.com
experienced across all geographies.
Specialty pharmaceuticals comprised
19% of total global sales in 2008; in
2013, it reached 24%. More important,
growth in the segment outpaced overall sales. Whereas, global sales of all pharmaceutical products in absolute
terms rose from around $700 billion in
2008 to $880 billion in 2013—a 25%
increase, according to IMS Health’s
MIDAS database—the specialty drug
portion expanded at double the rate, at
about 50% in absolute terms.
The conventional wisdom is to define
specialty as products that treat smaller
patient populations with higher treat-
ment costs. In order to provide a consistent classification, IMS Health defines specialty products as medicines that
treat specific, complex diseases with five
or more of the following attributes:
»» Use in treatment of chronic conditions.
»» Initiated by a specialist.
»» Requiring special handling and administration, including subcutaneous injection. »» Subject to unique distribution arrangements.
»» High price points.
»» Extensive patient care service, monitoring, or education.
In countries where individual patients bear a
significant portion of the out-of-pocket costs
of treatment, companies must deploy and
fund novel approaches to increase disease
awareness and identify patients at risk.
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