Published On: Fri, Nov 6th, 2015

How much Americans are spending on drugs compared to the rest of the world

Maney,   pills health illustration pharmaceutical-drugs

When it comes to expenditure on prescription drugs across OECD countries, the United States in first place. In 2013, the average American spent $1, 026 on medicinal drugs, 50 percent higher than the OECD average of $500, claim a new report, Health at a Glance 2015 (See chart).

 Japan was in second place, 35 percent higher than average, with $752. Greece rounded off the top three with per capita expenditure of $721. Even though the rate of pharmaceutical expenditure has slowed down recently, people in OECD countries still spent $800 billion on medicinal drugs in 2013.

 

Statistics and facts about the pharmaceutical industry worldwide

The pharmaceutical industry is responsible for the development, production and marketing of medications. Thus, its immense importance as a global sector is evident. The total level of pharmaceutical revenue worldwide had reached nearly one trillion U.S. dollars. North America is responsible for the largest portion, generating more than 40 percent of these revenues. This is mostly due to the leading role of the U.S. pharmaceutical industry. But as in many other industries, the Chinese pharmaceutical sector shows the highest growth rates over the last years.

Still, the leading pharmaceutical companies come from the United States and Europe. Based on prescription sales, NYC-based Pfizer is the world’s second largest pharmaceutical company. In 2013, the company generated some 45 billion U.S. dollars in pure pharmaceutical sales, while total revenue stood at nearly 52 billion U.S. dollars. Other top global players from the United States are Johnson & Johnson, Merck and AbbVie. Novartis and Roche from Switzerland, GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca from the United Kingdom, and French Sanofi are the European big five.

Branded, patented medicines by far make up the largest share of pharmaceutical revenues. Humira, an anti-inflammatory drug, generated nearly 10 billion U.S. dollars of revenue worldwide. Oncologics continue to be the leading therapeutic class based on revenue. In 2013, cancer drugs made around 67 billion U.S. dollars of revenue globally. Other major therapy classes were pain drugs, antihypertensives and antidiabetics.

More than any other industry, the pharmaceutical sector is highly dependent on its research and development segment. Pharmaceutical companies invest 20 percent and more of their revenues in R&D measures. The United States is a traditional stronghold of pharmaceutical innovation. Most new substances introduced to the market trace their origin to the United States. Because of the steadily loss of patent protection, the invention of new drugs is of vital importance for the pharmaceutical industry. Revenue losses due to patent expiry often are very significant, as it can be seen with Pfizer’s Lipitor.

This chart shows per capita expenditure on pharmaceuticals in OECD countries in 2013.

Infographic: Which Countries Pay The Most For Medicinal Drugs? | Statista

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