Right now oncology is the main attraction, which makes sense considering ASCO is just two weeks away. But oncology drugs have always garnered a lot of attention because the diseases they treat are so scary for the patients, plus they can be quite costly.
But the good thing (for the pharmaceutical companies) is that these drugs aren’t facing generic competition like some other drugs have to. As a result, expensive and older treatments are contending with low-cost generics for sales, meaning they’re still bringing in a pretty penny for the company.
FiercePharma released a list of the top 10 best-selling cancer drugs based on how much they brought in U.S. sales over the last year.
2011 sales: $564.2 million
FDA approvals: Non-small cell lung cancer, 2004; pancreatic cancer, 2005; NSCLC maintenance therapy, 2010.
2011 sales: $647.6 million
FDA approvals: Metastatic colorectal cancer, 1998; metastatic breast cancer, 2002; adjuvant colon cancer therapy, 2005.
Millennium Pharmaceuticals, a unit of Takeda Pharmaceutical Industries, in partnership with Johnson & Johnson
2011 sales: $692.7 million
FDA approvals: Multiple myeloma, 2003; mantle cell lymphoma, 2006; first-line multiple myeloma, 2008.
Eli Lilly, in partnership with Bristol-Myers Squibb
2011 sales: $703.3 million
FDA approvals: EGFR-positive colorectal cancer, 2004; second line in head and neck cancer, 2006; first line in recurrent or metastatic head and neck cancer, 2011.
2011 sales: $1.04 billion
FDA approvals: Malignant pleural mesothelioma, 2004; non-small cell lung cancer, 2008; NSCLC maintenance therapy, 2009.
2011 sales: $1.2 billion
FDA approvals: Colorectal cancer, 2002; adjuvant use in colorectal cancer, 2004; new formulation, 2005.
2011 sales: $1.51 billion
FDA approvals: Chronic myelogenous leukemia, 2011; gastrointestinal stromal tumors, 2002; Philadelphia-chromosome positive acute lymphocytic leukemia, 2006; dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans, 2006; certain myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative diseases, 2006; hypereosinophilic syndrome/chronic eosinophilic leukemia, 2006; aggressive systemic mastocytosis, 2006; adjuvant GIST treatment, 2012.
2011 sales: $1.66 billion
FDA approvals: Metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer, 1998; adjuvant in early-stage HER2-positive breast cancer, 2006; additional adjuvant approvals, 2008; HER2-positive gastric or gastroesophageal junction cancer.
2011 sales: $2.66 billion
FDA approvals: Metastatic colorectal cancer, 2004; non-small cell lung cancer, 2006; breast cancer, 2008 (revoked in 2011); kidney cancer, 2009; brain cancer, 2009.
2011 sales: $3 billion
FDA approvals: Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, 1997; rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, 2006; rheumatoid arthritis disease progression, 2008; chronic lymphocytic leukemia, 2010; Wegener's granulomatosis and microscopic polyangiitis, 2011.
To read more about the individual drugs on this list, read the report.