June 7, 2018

IQVIA Reports on Global Oncology Trends

The IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science (formerly the IMS Institute) released Global Oncology Trends 2018, a report that highlights advances in cancer therapeutics, including the use of these drugs, their global spending trends, the pipeline of therapeutic innovation, and associated clinical trial activity through 2022.

While cancers represent a very small portion of workers’ compensation claims, it is estimated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that 3-6% of cancer cases are caused by workplace exposure to carcinogens, totaling between 45,872 to 91,745 new cancer cases in 2012. Furthermore, several states such as New JerseyNew HampshireHawaii, and West Virginia hope to join a great number of other states that have enacted laws to make cancer a compensable condition for firefighters.

It has been established that firefighters’ exposure to asbestos and synthetic materials can double their risk for malignant mesothelioma, and further research and legislation have the potential to increase instances in the future where certain cancers are identified as work-related. Thus, cancer therapies represent an important area of specialty medications to continually monitor.

According to IQVIA’s report, global spending on cancer therapies now exceeds $133 billion, having risen from $96 billion in 2013, and this number is expected to reach $180-200 billion in five years.

Over the past five years, 63 newly-approved cancer drugs have impacted the treatment of 24 different cancers, and the range of clinical benefits from this new group of medicines includes several with total remission rates above 50%, and significant extensions of overall survival.

Currently, there are more than 700 cancer drugs in late-stage development, up over 60% from a decade ago, but it is important to note that most cancer drugs, including those with high annual costs, are used by relatively few patients, with about 87% of drugs being used by fewer than 10,000 patients in 2017.

In fact, spending on cancer medicines is heavily concentrated with the top 35 drugs accounting for 80% of total spending, while over half of cancer drugs have less than $90 million in annual sales.

And as 14 of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies have at least one-third of their late-stage R&D activity focused on oncology, cancer research will remain a significant area of activity. Monitoring this area of specialty medication will continue to be a relevant focus in workers’ comp as legislation expands compensability into a field that grows more specialized and more costly to manage.

For further information, read IQVIA’s report in full.

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