The Oncology Landscape: Trends in Cancer Care

Specialty Pharmacy Times, May/June 2014, Volume 5, Issue 3

This issue marks the fourth special oncology-themed edition of Specialty Pharmacy Times, and there is no doubt that the oncology landscape has changed dramatically in that time frame. Specialty pharmacists and all the stakeholders in the cancer care market are finding new and more sophisticated ways to approach the care of patients under their watch as new medications, new models of care delivery, and brand-new targeted therapies offer fresh hope and, in some instances, real promise.

In the new report from IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, “Innovation in Cancer Care and Implications for Health Systems: Global Oncology Trend Report,” which was just released at Armada’s 10th Specialty Pharmacy Summit & Expo, we learn that the global market for oncology drugs, including supportive care, reached $91 billion in 2013. The United States and the top 5 European markets still dominate the space with 65% of total sales, but targeted therapies have taken a hold—they increased 11% from a decade ago, according to IMS, and now account for 45% of total sales in the oncology market.

The Specialty Pharmacy Times audience follows our coverage in print, online, in e-newsletters, and on mobile devices, and is aware of the dramatic shifts specific to the world of oncology practice. Our sister website, OncLive (, and related oncology publications continue to bring cutting-edge commentaries and news from the physician side of this fast-paced environment. As the IMS report states, “The trends identified and described in this report will continue to evolve in rapid and unexpected ways….oncology brings high levels of uncertainty—in terms of the nature and rate of innovative treatments, the willingness by payers to reimburse care at current levels, and the shifting composition of the cancer patient population from mature and developed markets to low- and middle-income countries.”

According to the IMS report, oncology is forecast to be the number 1 therapeutic area for developed nations in terms of 2017 spending—leading all other therapeutic areas, even primary care. The news from the targeted therapies arena is promising, as the treatment of certain cancer types—most notably metastatic melanoma, prostate cancer, and lung cancer—is benefitting from innovations in drug development and delivery. The stakes are huge as research and development continue to evolve. In fact, the overall drug pipeline, from early to final phases, is the largest in cancer compared with other therapeutic classes. Activity is high, expectations are raised.

With this issue, we bring real-world scenarios and voices from the specialty pharmacist oncology leaders in the industry. They are intimately involved in innovations and new trends as they work to achieve the best possible results for cancer patients using both the available tools and those currently being developed. I invite you to read about their innovative practices and ways of doing business during these very exciting times—and learn from their experiences and far-reaching overview of the oncology landscape. SPT

Thank you for reading!

Mike HennessyChairman and CEO