Top 20 Blockbuster Cancer Drugs

Best Selling Oncology Drugs Include Herceptin and Avastin

Oncology medications are booming business for the pharmaceutical industry. Nearly all of the major companies are either currently manufacturing oncology drugs or have oncology medications in their pipeline as potential medications in coming years.

High Cost for Oncology Medications

Cancer affects millions of people each year, and as the world population continues to grow, the rate of new cancer cases will likely grow, too. Recent developments in the pharmaceutical industry have made cancer treatable in many cases. 

Many of the newer medications are geared towards very specific kinds of cancer, charging premium prices and facing little competition. And because biologic treatments do not have the same kind of generic competition as chemical drugs, they have a longer shelf-life in terms of patent ​​protections. This means the drug manufacturers can continue to charge whatever prices they see fit since their drugs have no generic equivalents.

The pharmaceutical industry's 20 top-selling cancer drugs generate annual sales over $50 billion worldwide. Roche's Rituxan, Avastin, and Herceptin lead the pack, with $21 billion in sales for these three drugs alone. Roche's top oncology line represented about 40 percent of the top 20 in combined sales.

International Demand for Oncology Drugs

There is an increasing demand worldwide for oncology medications, so pharmaceutical companies are seeing significant growth outside of their usual markets in the United States and Europe.

Rising healthcare spending in Asian countries like China and Japan make medications more accessible. An expanding middle class in India, partially due to the influx of pharmaceutical companies outsourcing manufacturing to Indian factories, makes more expensive medical care possible for those who can afford it. 

 

1
Avastin

Pharmacist filling perscription
Musketeer/DigitalVision/Getty Images

Manufacturer: Roche

Condition or Diseases treated: Breast, colorectal, lung, kidney, ovarian cancers

Global sales: $6.7 billion

Generic name: Bevacizumab

2
Revlimid

Manufacturer: Celgene

Condition or Diseases treated: Multiple myeloma

Global sales: $4.2 billion

Generic name: Lenalidomide

3
Rituxan

Manufacturer: Roche

Condition or Diseases treated: Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia

Global sales: $7.5 billion

Generic name: Rituximab

4
Herceptin

Manufacturer: Roche

Condition or Diseases treated: HER2+ breast cancer

Global sales: $6.5 billion

Generic name:  Trastuzumab

5
Imbruvica

Manufacturer: Johnson & Johnson/Pharmacyclics

Condition or Diseases treated: Mantel cell lymphoma, chronic lymphocetic leukemia

Global Sales: $5.3 billion

Generic name: Ibrutinib capsules

6
Gleevec

Manufacturer: Novartis

Condition or Diseases treated: Chronic myeloid leukemia, gastrointestinal stromal tumors

Global sales:  $4.7 billion

Generic name: Imatinib

7
Alimta

Manufacturer: Eli Lilly

Condition or Diseases treated: Non-small cell lung cancer

Global sales: $2.5 billion

Generic name: Pemetrexed

8
Velcade

Manufacturer: Johnson & Johnson/Takeda

Condition or Diseases treated: Multiple myeloma, mantle cell lymphoma

Global sales: $2.6 billion

Generic name: Bortezomib

9
Erbitux

Manufacturer: BMS/Merck Serono

Condition or Diseases treated: Colorectal, head and neck cancers

Global sales: $1.9 billion

Generic name: Cetuximab

10
Gardasil

Manufacturer: Merck & Co.

Condition or Diseases treated: Cervical cancer

Global sales: $1.8 billion

Generic name: Human Papillomavirus Quadrivalent (Types 6,11, 16, and 18) Vaccine, Recombinant]

11
Zytiga

Manufacturer: Johnson & Johnson

Condition or Diseases treated: Prostate cancer

Global sales: $1.7 billion

Generic name: Abiraterone acetate

12
Xeloda

Manufacturer: Roche

Condition or Disease treated: Breast, colorectal cancers

Global Sales: $1.6 billion

Generic name:  Capecitabine

13
Tarceva

Manufacturer: Roche

Condition or Diseases treated: Non-small-cell lung, pancreatic cancers

Global  Sales: $1.4 billion

Generic name: Erlotinib

14
Afinitor

Manufacturer: Novartis

Condition or Diseases treated: Breast cancer

Global  Sales: $1.3 billion

Generic name: Everolimus

15
Tasigna

Manufacturer: Novartis

Condition or Diseases treated: Chronic myeloid leukemia

Global Sales: $1.3 billion

Generic name:  Nilotinib

16
Sutent

Manufacturer: Pfizer

Condition or Diseases treated: Renal cell sarcoma, gastrointestinal stromal tumors

Global Sales: $1.2 billion

Generic name: Sunitinib Malate

17
Nexavar

Manufacturer: Bayer

Condition or Diseases treated: Renal cell sarcoma, liver cancer

Global Sales: $1 billion

Generic name: Sorafenib

18
Xgeva

Manufacturer: Amgen

Condition or Diseases treated: Bone mestases

Global Sales: $1 billion

Generic name: Denosumab

19
Zoladex

Manufacturer: AstraZeneca

Condition or Diseases treated: Breast, prostate cancer

Global Sales: $1 billion

Generic name: Goserelin acetate

20
Yervoy

Manufacturer: BMS

Condition or Diseases treated: Melanoma

Global Sales: $960 million

Generic name: Ipilimumab