Top 20 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 is one of the most dreaded diagnoses a patient can get. In the past, cancer used to mean a death sentence But recent developments in the pharmaceutical industry have made cancer treatable and even curable, in some cases.

Cancer affects millions of people each year, as the world population continues to grow, the rate of new cancer cases will grow too. 

Cancer is a brutal disease, and patients are willing to spend even extreme high costs in order to manage their illnesses. In terms of business, oncology medications are the strongest guarantee of high revenue. 

Many of the new 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. 

The pharmaceutical industry's 20 top-selling cancer drugs generate 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.

While about 20 oncology drugs are now classified as blockbusters, earning a billion or more in sales each year, experts predict there will be at least 29 oncology blockbusters by 2018.

International Demand

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 medical care possible. And as markets in Japan and the United States age and cancer becomes more common, the demand for oncology medications will only grow.

Pharmaceutical companies will increasingly focus their efforts on developing, testing and launching new medications in the oncology therapeutic area to meet customer demand. 

1
Avastin

Pharmacist filling perscription
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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