Top 5 Oncology Drugs in the Global Pharmaceutical Industry (2017)

Oncology drugs is one of the fastest-growing segments in the global pharmaceutical industry. Over the next five years, oncology drug sales are expected to exceed USD 90 billion—a staggering number that reflects how the necessity for effective cancer treatment is increasing worldwide. As cancer rates rise, many oncology pharmaceutical companies are increasingly making their products more affordable, either by dropping drug prices outright or implementing flexible pricing schemes. Here is BizVibe’s list of the top 5 oncology drugs currently available in the global pharmaceutical market:


  1. Rituxan: Manufactured by Roche, Rituxan is used to treat non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia. It’s also often used as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. Rituxan generated sales of USD 7.5 billion last year.
  2. Avastin: As one of Roche’s blockbuster oncology drugs, Avastin generated almost USD 7 billion in sales last year. Avastin is used for the treatment of colorectal cancer, glioblastoma, renal cell carcinoma, non-small cell lung cancer, and ovarian cancer. In the future, Avastin’s success may be threatened somewhat by the presence of a growing number of biosimilars.
  3. Herceptin: As another of Roche’s blockbuster drugs, Herceptin is used for the treatment of HER2+ breast cancer. Sales of Herceptin amounted to roughly USD 6.5 billion last year. Like Avastin, Herceptin’s global leading position may be threatened in the future by biosimilars such as Herzuma and Canmab.
  4. RevlimidManufactured by Celgene and generically known as lenalidomide, Revlimid is used for the treatment multiple myeloma, mantle cell lymphoma, and myelodysplastic syndromes. Revlimid generated sales of more than USD 4 billion last year, and is projected to generate sales of over USD 13 billion in the next five years.
  5. Imbruvica: This oncology drug is manufactured by Johnson & Johnson. Imbruvica generated USD 5.3 billion in sales last year, and is used for the treatment of mantel cell lymphoma and chronic lymphocetic leukemia.

The latest development for the oncology drugs segment of the global pharmaceutical market is biosimilars: drugs that are structurally and functionally similar to the market’s top sellers. Biosimilars are often sold for a less expensive price than the original drugs, and can act as a threat to these high performers. However, if oncology pharmaceutical companies keep this is mind and alter their pricing strategies accordingly, they are likely to retain their leading positions throughout the next five years.

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