Global medicines and the future outlook

pharmaphorum podcast Episode 137a

In a conversation held earlier in the year as the four-year anniversary of the pandemic approached, the pharmaphorum podcast had as guest Murray Aitken, executive director of the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science, to discuss the state of global medicines and the future outlook when it comes to research and development, and usage and spending appetites.

A separate team within IQVIA, the Institute for Human Data Science (IHDS) sits slightly apart, undertaking research destined to be used by public and private sector stakeholders, and advancing understanding of what is going on in healthcare and health systems.

Overall global spending on medicines grew by 35% over the past five years, based on list prices of drugs, and, according to the IHDS’s report – ‘The Global Use of Medicines 2024 – Outlook through 2028’ – the growth outlook on spending looks set to reach $2.3 trillion by 2028 date. The question of value is therefore a valid one and Aitken endeavours to explain the numbers.

With more patients being treated with novel medicines with better clinical outcomes, a theme that came through in this year’s IHDS report is a recognition of how much of growth in medicines spending is driven by a change in the mix of medicines being used. In Western Europe and the US, it is this, rather than volume increase (as in much of the rest of the world), that is driving 80% of spending growth, says Aitken. In oncology, for example, per capita use of targeted therapies has grown significantly over the past five years.

Focusing on the diabetes and obesity market and the incredible appetite for GLP-1s, as well as the shift from the statement of ‘We can’t afford obesity’ to ‘We can’t afford obesity treatment’, Aitken discusses the potential long-term use of these new, popular therapies and the possible impact on other disease areas.

And with an evolving understanding of COVID-19 and Long-Covid, Aitken speaks on the public pullback on vaccination, and the long-view concern over vaccine hesitancy of all types, particularly in the adult vaccination space, and how health systems must redouble efforts to get things back on track.

You can listen to episode 137a of the pharmaphorum podcast in the player below, download the episode to your computer, or find it - and subscribe to the rest of the series - in iTunes, SpotifyGoogle Podcasts, Amazon Music, and Podbean.