The top 10 drugs of 2024

EvaluatePharma analysts predict AbbVie's Humira will top pharma's sales charts in 2024, followed by Merck's Keytruda and Celgene's Revlimid. (Pixabay)

Even as many things change in the drug industry, at least one fact should stay the same in the coming years, according to analysts at EvaluatePharma. AbbVie's megablockbuster Humira will lead the world's drug sales charts in 2024, according to a new report, representing a record-breaking run that has lifted the company's fortunes along the way.

After generating sales of $18.9 billion last year, Humira will turn in $15.23 billion in 2024 sales, according to the analysts' new World Preview 2018, representing a 3% annual slip during the period. Jefferies analysts have predicted sales for the drug will peak at $20.9 billion next year.

Humira will still hold pharma's sales crown in that year, according to the report, followed by Merck's Keytruda at $12.69 billion, Celgene's Revlimid at $11.93 billion, Bristol-Myers Squibb's Opdivo at $11.25 billion and BMS and Pfizer's Eliquis at $10.54 billion. All told, worldwide prescription drug sales will reach $1.2 trillion in 2024, according to the group.

Humira's performance will come in part thanks to two settlements the drugmaker has reached with biosim developers. Under agreements with Amgen and Samsung Bioepis, biosims from those developers won't launch in the U.S. until 2023. Both deals make it less likely another biosim player could enter the market and challenge AbbVie's drug. Price hikes will also play a role, as Humira's price has more than doubled over the past 5 years.

As the analysts note, Merck's checkpoint inhibitor Keytruda will overtake Bristol-Myers' Opdivo in the oncology space, churning ahead at 19% annual growth through 2024. Rounding out the top 10 are Johnson & Johnson and AbbVie's Imbruvica, Pfizer's Ibrance, Sanofi's Dupixent, Regeneron and Bayer's Eylea and J&J's Stelara. Among drugs in the projected top 10 in 2024 global sales, Sanofi's Dupixent turned in the lowest sales figure last year. Evaluate analysts predict the drug will climb from $247 million in 2017 sales all the way to more than $8 billion in 2024, an average growth rate of 64%.

Though it barely missed the top 10 spot, Gilead's HIV drug Biktarvy is another notable newcomer. The drug didn't generate any sales in 2017, but analysts expect it to climb to $6 billion by 2024. It's projected to climb to the highest position in 2024 sales among 17 new launches or projects that are still in R&D stages. The only three R&D projects in Evaluate's top 50 2024 sales ranking are Vertex's triple-combo cystic fibrosis drug, Biogen's aducanumab for Alzheimer's disease and Genfit's nonalcoholic steatohepatitis drug elafibranor. The analysts predict each of those drugs will generate more than $2.8 billion in 2024.

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