Global orphan drugs market to reach $ 209 billion by 2022

Worldwide orphan drug sales forecast to total $ 209 billion (growing at CAGR of 11.1 percent from 2017 to 2022); approximately double overall prescription market growth, according to Evaluate latest report ‘EvaluatePharma Orphan Drug Report 2017’. 

The market for orphan drugs, which are pharmaceutical product aimed at rare diseases or disorders, is set to be 21.4 percent of worldwide prescription sales by 2022 (excluding generics). At the same time, median cost per patient differential will be 5.5 times higher for orphan drugs compared to non-orphan.

According to the report, in the last 12 months, there has been an increase in scrutiny of the price of these lifesaving products. 

“The image of the plucky small biotech striving to develop treatments for the rare diseases largely ignored by big pharma is long gone. Instead, this year we again find big pharma dominating the sector. Seven of the top 10 companies by orphan drug sales are global industry players”, said Lisa Urquhart, EP Vantage editor and report contributor. 

“And the pricing incentives are substantial. Of the top 100 drugs in the US the average cost per patient per year for an orphan drug was $140,443 in 2016, compared with $27,756 for a non-orphan, putting pressure on the industry to continue to generate innovations that justify the huge costs of treatments”, added Andreas Hadjivasiliou, report author and EvaluatePharma analyst.

The report anticipates Celgene to overtake Novartis as the world’s number one orphan drug company in 2022, climbing two places, and pushing Novartis down to number three. Besides, one product to contribute the majority of orphan sales for two of the top four; Celgene (Revlimid, 80 percent of sales) and BMS (Opdivo, 68 percent of sales).

EvaluatePharma report finds that Opdivo is Europe’s largest orphan drug in 2022, with sales of $ 2.4 billion for all indications. All of the orphan drugs in the top 10 are already marketed, with all but one forecast to continue to grow through to 2022. Orphan drugs are set to account for 55 percent of the cumulative value of the European pipeline through to 2022. Orphan products forecasted to launch in the coming years are expected to grow at a CAGR of 116 percent compared to non-orphan pipeline drugs which are forecasted to grow at 95 percent CAGR.