North American pharmaceutical market focus shifting from prescriber to payer, says Globaldata


Following the global economic recession, cost-containment measures are shifting the decision making focus of North America’s pharmaceutical market from the prescriber to the payer

Globaldata’s latest report states that the global pharmaceutical industry is currently being confronted with intensified obstacles along the path to new product commercialisation, with pricing and reimbursement hurdles being particularly challenging for the North American market.

According to GlobalData’s Healthcare Industry Analyst Adam Dion, as overall healthcare spending has slowed during the recession, new pharmaceutical products and medical technologies have received increased attention regarding their potential cost savings.

‘Although the US population is largely covered through private health insurance, public sector coverage now includes third-party administrators, dispensers and others, further complicating the situation,' he says. 'At the other end of the spectrum is Canada, where the single-payer system has meant sweeping cost-containment measures and a stricter pricing and reimbursement policy, which is a challenge for pharmaceutical companies.’

The analyst adds that as market access regulations are becoming more stringent, product commercialisation strategies will be helped by mapping a successful launch sequence of countries that have not only good domestic drug demand, but also the right pricing and reimbursement conditions.

However, while there have been continued efforts to lower spending on prescription drugs, on which the US spends approximately one tenth of its healthcare budget, the number of products with an annual cost totalling at least US$100,000 has increased markedly during the past five years.

‘The rise in premium-priced drugs has been most notable in the oncology and infectious diseases segments, particularly Amgen’s leukaemia drug Blincyto, and Gilead’s hepatitis C virus treatments, Sovaldi and Harvoni,’ Dion continues.

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‘Despite discounts provided by manufacturers, the demand for innovative drug treatments in areas with high unmet need means that the continued influx of such therapies is likely to impact costs heavily for both insurers and patients.'