OptumRx's drug trends to watch in 2020: 5 things to know

OptumRx, the pharmacy benefit manager unit of UnitedHealth Group, released its quarterly Drug Pipelines Insights Report. 

Optum's pipeline drug surveillance team tracked all the drugs in the FDA's pipeline and reviewed all potential drug approvals for 2020 to create the report, which was released Jan. 28.

Five predictions for the drug industry in 2020, according to the report: 

  1. The FDA will evaluate over 150 new drug applications, and 64 drugs already have anticipated approval dates in 2020.

  2. Eleven drugs will be blockbusters, meaning they will have at least $1 billion in U.S. sales.

  3. The most common type of new drugs will be oncology drugs, with 44 expected to be reviewed this year. Of those drugs, 70 percent will be high-cost orphan drugs.

  4. Orphan drugs will make up 44 percent of all approved drugs in 2020 and will continue to be a priority for drugmakers due to high return on investment. Continued growth in the number of orphan drugs being developed this year could lead to substantial growth in overall cost of care.

  5. The second most common drug in development are neurology drugs, with 29 expected to be approved this year. Those drugs include new treatments for common conditions such as migraine, Parkinson's and epilepsy, as well as treatments for rare conditions such as spinal muscular atrophy. 

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