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India leads race in cancer drug market growth

Our Bureau, Mumbai
Wednesday, April 25, 2018, 16:00 Hrs  [IST]

India's market for drugs to treat cancer has outstripped that of all other leading countries in recent years and is set to go on doing so, a report from The Business Research Company shows.

Rising at nearly 19 per cent a year from 2013 to 2017, it is expected to grow at an only slightly slower rate up to 2021. This compares with the global average growth of this market at seven per cent. Despite this impressive growth, however, India's cancer drug sales are still lower than those of all other leading nations except Russia.

In 2017 Russia spent less than all other leading nations on cancer drugs and is set to fall further behind the global average. Although its market has recovered from its recent drop of -1.5 per cent a year, it is still only growing at 2.5 per cent, 4.5 percentage points more slowly than the global average.

The fastest acceleration in growth of the oncology drugs market is occurring in China, where its rise of 9.7 per cent year on year up to 2017 has now increased to 16 per cent. Among the developed economies, the UK’s market is growing fastest, at 10.5 per cent a year.

Anti-cancer or anti-neoplastic agents are the drugs that prevent or inhibit or halt the proliferation and maturation of neoplasms, an abnormal growth of tissues commonly called tumours. These drugs prevent the growth of malignant tumours by affecting the process of cell division or by damaging the DNA and initiate apoptosis or by preventing the development and spread of neoplastic cells.

Drugs expenditure by region is related to many factors - size of population, and especially of the older population, and GDP per capita, but also regulatory systems and physician attitudes as well as disease incidence. Worldwide there were about 14 million new cases of cancer diagnosed in 2012, a figure that is expected to increase to 23.6 million by 2030.

New drugs tend to be more expensive, while those out of patent can see their price lowered dramatically by the launch of generics. Rates of adoption of new drugs vary widely from country to country: Austria, France, Switzerland and the United States are seen as leaders in the uptake of new cancer drugs, while the uptake is low and slow for many drugs in New Zealand, Poland, the Czech Republic, South Africa and the UK.

The 8.8 per cent growth in the global market for cancer drugs compares with a growth rate of 5.2 per cent for pharmaceuticals in general.

Unlike the market for pharmaceuticals as a whole, where the top 10 players account for less than a third of the market, the sales of two companies, Switzerland's Hoffman-La Roche and Novartis make up nearly 30 per cent of the global total for oncology drugs, and those of the top 10 nearly two-thirds.


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