Visualizing the Future of the Pharma Market

by visualcapitalist

Drug Market Outlook


Around the world, people are living longer.

By 2050, there will be two billion people that are 60 years or older globally. Meanwhile, the amount of seniors (65+ years old) in the U.S. will double to 100 million by 2060.

To meet the needs of this aging population, we will continue to need larger quantities and more varieties of prescription drug treatments – an industry that is expected to skyrocket to $1.2 trillion in size by 2024.


Today’s infographic comes to us from Raconteur, and it highlights the most anticipated drug treatments and therapy areas for the pharmaceutical industry.

It starts by breaking down the massive pharma market into therapy segments, showing a forecast for the size and growth for each category.

Here is the data for the top 15 segments, sorted by projected worldwide prescription drug sales in 2024:

Rank Therapy Area 2017 sales 2024 sales CAGR
Total $825B $1249B +6.1%
#1 Oncology $104B $233B +12.2%
#2 Anti-diabetics $46.1B $59.5B +3.3%
#3 Anti-rheumatics $55.7B $56.7B +0.2%
#4 Vaccines $27.7B $44.6B +7.1%
#5 Anti-virals $42.4B $39.9B -0.9%
#6 Immunosuppressants $13.7B $38.1B +15.7%
#7 Bronchodilators $27.2B $32.3B +2.5%
#8 Dermatologicals $12.9B $30.3B +13%
#9 Sensory Organs $21.6B $26.9B +3.2%
#10 Anti-hypertensives $23B $24.4B +0.8%
#11 Anti-coagulants $16.8B $22.9B +4.6%
#12 MS Therapies $22.7B $21.5B -0.8%
#13 Anti-fibrinolytics $12.7B $20.4B +7.1%
#14 Anti-hyperlipidaemics $11.3B $16.4B +5.5%
#15 Anti-anaemics $7.6B $15.7B +11%
Other $379B $567B +5.9%
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This data, which comes from a recent report from EvaluatePharma, helps showcase a few key insights.

Firstly, the oncology therapy area – which makes drugs that are used to treat various forms of cancer – is by far the largest in the pharma world with $107 billion in sales in 2017. It’s also projected to maintain its dominance going forward, growing at an impressive 12.2% CAGR to $233 billion by 2024.

Next, while sales in cancer-related drugs will be the most in absolute terms, the fastest growing treatment area is actually in immunosuppressants – a segment of drugs that make a body less likely to reject a transplanted organ, such as a liver, heart, or kidney. It’s projected that this segment will grow at 15.7% per year, eventually becoming the sixth largest pharma segment at $38.1 billion in 2024.

Lastly, while sales in the pharma market will be averaging 6.1% in annual growth as a whole, there are two major segments that will see negative annual growth going forward: Anti-virals (-0.9%) and MS Therapies (-0.8%).


Currently, there are more drugs used for treating cancer than for any other type of disease or condition.

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Rank Disease or Condition Number of active drugs
#1 Breast cancer 727
#2 Lung cancer 544
#3 Colorectal cancer 503
#4 Ovarian cancer 434
#5 Pancreatic cancer 430
#6 Type-2 diabetes 407
#7 Prostate cancer 381
Alzheimer’s disease 381

Unfortunately, even though many cancer drugs are available on the market already, the debilitating disease is still a leading cause of death. Existing drugs are used in treatments of chemotherapy or hormone therapy, but it’s clear that there is still plenty of room for progress to be made against the disease.

For these reasons – combined with the estimate that nearly 40% of Americans will be diagnosed with some form of cancer during their lifetimes – it’s no surprise to see that companies have yet even more cancer drugs in the pipeline:

Rank Therapy area Number of drugs in pipeline
#1 Anti-cancer 5,212
#2 Biotechnology 4,751
#3 Neurological 2,604
#4 Anti-infective 2,238
#5 Alimentary/metabolic 2,237
#6 Reformulations 2,073
#7 Musculoskeletal 1,597
#8 Dermatological 929

As more drugs get approved from the above pipeline, it is projected that $1 of every $5 spent on prescription drugs in 2024 will be going towards cancer-related treatments.



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