Top 20 Blockbuster Cancer Drugs

2018 Best Selling Oncology Drugs Include Revlimid 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 to sell in the coming years.

High Cost of Oncology Medications

Cancer affects millions of people each year. As the world's population continues to grow, the number of cases of cancer will grow. However, thanks to prevention techniques such as diet and exercise, the rate of new cancer cases has been predicted to stabilize. The caveat to this prediction is that undeveloped countries will still be at risk for increased rates of cancer.

According to the National Cancer Institute, the rate of new cases of cancer in the U.S. has been continuously declining, while the survival rate has been increasing.

Many of the newer medications are geared toward very specific types of cancer, with manufacturers charging premium prices and facing little competition. Since biologic treatments do not have the same kind of generic competition as chemical drugs, they have a longer shelf-life in terms of patent protection.

The pharmaceutical industry's 20 top-selling cancer drugs generate annual sales of over $50 billion worldwide. Celgene's Revlimid, Merk's Keytruda, and Roche's Rituxan, Avastin, and Herceptin lead the pack, with $31 billion in sales for these five drugs alone.

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. In India, expensive cancer care is becoming possible for those who can afford it, partially due to the influx of pharmaceutical companies outsourcing manufacturing to Indian factories.

01
Revlimid

Pharmacist filling perscription
Musketeer/DigitalVision/Getty Images

Manufacturer: Celgene

Condition or Diseases treated: Multiple myeloma

Global sales: $9.7 billion

Generic name: Lenalidomide

02
Keytruda

Manufacturer: Merck & Co.

Condition or Diseases treated: Advanced melanoma; non-small cell lung cancer; head and neck squamous cell cancer

Global sales: $7.2 billion

Generic name: ​Pembrolizumab

03
Herceptin

Manufacturer: Roche

Condition or Diseases treated: HER2+ breast cancer

Global sales: $7 billion

Generic name:  Trastuzumab

04
Avastin

Manufacturer: Roche

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

Global sales: $6.8 billion

Generic name: Bevacizumab

05
Rituxan

Manufacturer: Roche

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

Global sales: $6.8 billion

Generic name: Rituximab

06
Imbruvica

Manufacturer: Abbvie

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

Global Sales: $3.6 billion

Generic name: Ibrutinib capsules

07
Gardasil

Manufacturer: Merck & Co.

Condition or Diseases treated: Cervical cancer

Global sales: $3.2 billion

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

08
Perjeta

Manufacturer: Roche

Condition or Diseases treated: HER2-positive breast cancer​​

Global sales: $2.8 billion

Generic name: Pertuzumab

09
Alimta

Manufacturer: Eli Lilly

Condition or Diseases treated: Non-small cell lung cancer

Global sales: $2.1 billion

Generic name: Pemetrexed

10
Tasigna

Manufacturer: Novartis

Condition or Diseases treated: Chronic myeloid leukemia

Global Sales: $1.9 billion

Generic name:  Nilotinib

11
Opdivo

Manufacturer: Bristol-Myers Squibb; Ono Pharmaceutical​

Condition or Diseases treated: Non-small cell lung cancer; metastatic melanoma; renal cell carcinoma; classical Hodgkin lymphoma

Global sales: $1.8 billion

Generic name: Nivolumab

12
Xgeva

Manufacturer: Amgen

Condition or Diseases treated: Bone metastases

Global Sales: $1.8 billion

Generic name: Denosumab

13
Zytiga

Manufacturer: Johnson & Johnson

Condition or Diseases treated: Prostate cancer

Global sales: $1.7 billion

Generic name: Abiraterone acetate

14
Revolade

Manufacturer: Novartis

Condition or Diseases treated: long-term immune thrombocytopenic purpura

Global sales: $1.7 billion

Generic name: Promacta

15
Gleevec

Manufacturer: Novartis

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

Global sales$1.6 billion

Generic name: Imatinib

16
Afinitor

Manufacturer: Novartis

Condition or Diseases treated: Breast cancer

Global  Sales: $1.6 billion

Generic name: Everolimus

17
Ibrance

 Manufacturer: Pfizer

Condition or Diseases treated: Breast cancer

Global sales: $1.1 billion

Generic name: Palbociclib

18
Tarceva

Manufacturer: Roche

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

Global  Sales: $538 million

Generic name: Erlotinib

19
Velcade

Manufacturer: Takeda

Condition or Diseases treated: Multiple myeloma, mantle cell lymphoma

Global sales: $127 million

Generic name: Bortezomib

20
Xtandi

Manufacturer: Pfizer/Astellas Pharma

Condition or Diseases treated: Prostate cancer

Global sales: $1.9 million

Generic name: Enzalutamide

Predictions

The FDA has allocated fast track and breakthrough designation for many of the oncology drugs now in advanced clinical trials. It is expected that there will be many new blockbuster cancer drugs in the years ahead. Industry analysts predict that oncology therapies now in development or recently released by Bristol-Myers Squibb, Celgene, Merck, Roche, and Johnson & Johnson will be among the new market leaders.