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IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science Study: Global Medicine Spending Exceeds $1.5 Trillion by 2023 as Spending Growth Steadies

Total spending on medicines is expected to top $1.5 trillion by 2023, up 50 percent from 2014, even as annual growth moderates at 3-6 percent on an annual compound basis compared to 6.3 percent over the past five years, according to new research released from the IQVIA™ Institute for Human Data Science. The study found global drug spending reached $1.2 trillion in 2018, with the key drivers of growth during the next five years to be the United States and pharmerging markets with 4-7 percent and 5-8 percent compound annual growth respectively.

In addition to these market trends, The Global Use of Medicine in 2019 and Outlook to 2023: Forecasts and Areas to Watch, analyzes several critical healthcare areas and produces predictions to monitor in coming years.

“This report includes the latest predictions for the global pharmaceutical market, including areas of growth by geography, therapy group, and channel,” said Murray Aitken, IQVIA senior vice president and executive director of the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science. “Our original research explores the impact of new drug launches, explosive growth in biosimilars, as well as rapidly expanding use of specialty medicines. It also features 10 areas to watch, such as the use of digital health tools, artificial intelligence and machine learning, next-generation biotherapeutics, and real-world evidence within clinical development.”

A few key highlights featured in the report include:

  • Prescription opioid use in the United States peaked in 2011 on a per capita morphine milligram equivalent basis and has now declined for seven consecutive years. Existing policies and new legislation will likely impact opioid prescribing and use through 2023 and the dynamics around prescription opioids, illicit drug use and overdoses. A range of likely scenarios around opioid prescribing trends include a continuation of the ongoing rapid declines in use or a pattern of convergence around current lower-use states, resulting in prescription declines of one-half to one-third the current level measured in 2018.
  • The number of new products launched is expected to increase from an annual average of 46 in the past five years to an average of 54 through 2023. The annual average spending in developed markets on new brands is expected to rise slightly to $45.8 billion in the next five years but will represent a smaller share of brand spending.
  • Use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) by life sciences companies will accelerate and become the norm. The use of smart algorithms to analyze large complex datasets is most advanced currently in areas of clinical and pre-clinical research and has applications in assessing preclinical compounds, identifying potential targets based on real-world data, and in driving efficiencies in clinical development. In both commercial and clinical settings, predictive analytics powered by ML will be used to subdivide patient pools within datasets to help identify undiagnosed and untreated patients, predict the optimal timing to initiate or change patient treatment and provide lower-cost monitoring of patient progress and selection of treatment options over time.
  • Mobile apps are increasingly submitted to the FDA for clearance or approval. These prescription digital therapeutics (DTx) are a new emerging treatment modality with indications and disease-specific treatment effectiveness claims in their prescribing labels. Stakeholders are cautiously observing developments in DTx as this new modality could bring significant benefits but must be carefully weighed against the evidence for existing options. Where drug therapy alone has left unmet needs, particularly in the areas of behavioral health and cognition, these new technologies promise substantial advances. Digital, patient-facing technologies will continue to see uptake in both clinical protocols and patient therapeutic care to the benefit of all stakeholders.
  • Pharmaceutical companies will continue hiring specialists in patient affairs and patient advocacy, building roles internally with most of the top 20 pharma companies having a senior-level or C-suite patient role by 2019. Over the next five years, these roles intended to bring clinical and commercial efforts together will lead to improvements in patient engagement and trial design. These roles will build the strength of the patient voice both within and outside the company by leading a number of initiatives focusing on patient experience, including building repositories of real-world evidence and encouraging the growth of patient registries that can be used for partnerships.

The full version of the report, including a detailed description of the methodology, is available at The study was produced independently as a public service, without industry or government funding.

About the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science

The IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science contributes to the advancement of human health globally through timely research, insightful analysis and scientific expertise applied to granular non-identified patient-level data.

Fulfilling an essential need within healthcare, the Institute delivers objective, relevant insights and research that accelerate understanding and innovation critical to sound decision making and improved human outcomes. With access to IQVIA’s institutional knowledge, advanced analytics, technology and unparalleled data, the Institute works in tandem with a broad set of healthcare stakeholders to drive a research agenda focused on Human Data Science, including government agencies, academic institutions, the life sciences industry and payers. More information about the IQVIA Institute can be found at


IQVIA (NYSE:IQV) is a leading global provider of advanced analytics, technology solutions and contract research services to the life sciences industry. Formed through the merger of IMS Health and Quintiles, IQVIA applies human data science — leveraging the analytic rigor and clarity of data science to the ever-expanding scope of human science — to enable companies to reimagine and develop new approaches to clinical development and commercialization, speed innovation and accelerate improvements in healthcare outcomes. Powered by the IQVIA CORE™, IQVIA delivers unique and actionable insights at the intersection of large-scale analytics, transformative technology and extensive domain expertise, as well as execution capabilities. With more than 58,000 employees, IQVIA conducts operations in more than 100 countries.

IQVIA is a global leader in protecting individual patient privacy. The company uses a wide variety of privacy-enhancing technologies and safeguards to protect individual privacy while generating and analyzing information on a scale that helps healthcare stakeholders identify disease patterns and correlate with the precise treatment path and therapy needed for better outcomes. IQVIA’s insights and execution capabilities help biotech, medical device and pharmaceutical companies, medical researchers, government agencies, payers and other healthcare stakeholders tap into a deeper understanding of diseases, human behaviors and scientific advances, in an effort to advance their path toward cures. To learn more, visit

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Last Updated: 29-Jan-2019