The Future’s Most Popular Meds

Shining a light on what are expected to be the biggest drugs of the next decade.

North America is again expected to be the largest market for pharmaceuticals sales in the next five years, with a total value of $416 billion a year by 2021-a large proportion of the total 2021 global pharmaceutical market of $1,170 billion a year.

This is according to a report from The Business Research Company-a market research firm with offices in the Americas, Asia, and Europe-on the current state and future of the global pharmaceutical market.

Particularly interesting is the breakdown of the market for specific drugs, indicating what drugs will be more readily available and consumed. By 2021, the largest category of drugs will be those used to treat musculoskeletal disorders-such as arthritis or osteoporosis medications-valued at $177 billion a year globally.

After that, the oncology, cardiovascular, and anti-infective drug markets will be the largest. While musculoskeletal drugs will grow at a rate of 8% per year, while cancer drugs will only grow by 7% and cardiovascular drugs by 2.2%. [See Figure 1]

The fastest growing category of drug will those used to treat metabolic disorders-such as diabetes and thyroid disorders-which will grow by 9% a year; however, they will still only be the fifth-largest category by 2021. In the United States specifically, metabolic drugs alone were worth $29.9 billion in 2017.