Generics Market Expected to Explode in Next Five Years

The U.S. market remains the largest single-country market in the world.

A new report from MarketLine predicts that the global generics market will achieve double-digit growth through 2021. Previous years, 2012 to 2016, saw increased growth at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.1% to reach a value of $318 billion.

The U.S. CAGR is expected to be 7.2% between 2016 and 2021 to reach a value of $141.2 billion. The United States is still the largest single country market, with a value of $99.7 billion, and according to MarketLine, still has room for significant growth.

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Nicholas Wyatt, Project Leader for MarketLine, told Drug Topics that the company is projecting strong growth because the United States has not hit a saturation point in terms of new and anticipated generics. He mentioned that, in 2016, generics for several blockbuster drugs (Seroquel XR, Crestor, Benicar, and Kaletra) all received “at least tentative approval.” These drugs could be very profitable in the coming years, he said. The new blockbuster generics, “coupled with a need to save money, will mean further growth.”

When asked how passage of the American Health Care Act might affect the generics market, Wyatt stressed that while he could not say exactly what the effects might be, some possibilities could be inferred. “In some respects, it is likely to make generics cost benefits even more important as subsidies are reduced,” said Wyatt. He added that it may also mean that generics (as well as branded drugs) suffer as people not yet on Medicare who previously received free or subsidized insurance can no longer afford the coverage through which they buy medication. “At this stage, we feel the cost benefits of generics outweigh this. Furthermore, the recent rash of generics approvals, coupled with the scope for more to replace drugs coming off patent between 2017 and 2020, should continue to drive strong growth.”

In 2016 Asia-Pacific was the largest region at 46% of the global total, followed by the United States at 31%, while Europe stayed lower at 15.6%.

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In a press release, Wyatt said that generics save European Union patients and the health-care system more than $53 billion every year. “Despite this,” he added, “in markets like France, Italy, and Norway, generics still account for less than half of the pharmaceuticals market as a whole, due to an enduring resistance to prescribing generics. Even in the UK, where generics account for an estimated 82% of prescriptions, proposals for automatic substitution have not been ratified.”

“Despite having more scope for growth than the United States, Europe will fall further behind,” he concluded. “However, that does not mean the excellent growth potential should be overlooked. As governments struggle to maintain health-care spending, reimbursement made using the manufacturer’s list price for the branded product starts to look very unattractive. This should propel a move toward greater generic substitution.”