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Humira to be overthrown as world's top-selling drug, report predicts

Brittany De Lea

Humira’s reign as the world's best-selling drug could soon come to an end.

While the drug, manufactured by AbbVie and prescribed to treat Rheumatoid Arthritis, raked in nearly $20 billion in 2018, another drug is on pace to bring in $22.5 billion in a few years.

According to an analysis from GlobalData, as cited by BioSpace, Merck’s Keytruda is on pace to become the top-selling drug by 2025. Keytruda treats different types of cancers.

In 2018, Merck reported sales of Keytruda at more than $7.17 billion.

AbbVie’s patent protection for Humira will end by 2023, at which time other companies are prepared to launch similar drugs, the report noted.

On the other hand, Merck’s Keytruda is being studied for new indications globally, the company said earlier this year, which means it could potentially be approved to treat different types of cancers.

According to BioSpace, it has been approved more than 22 times since 2015.

It also has an average annual growth rate of 334 percent, according to Forbes, and is currently in phase 3 trials for about 11 programs.

Merck also has patent protection for the drug until 2028 in both the United States and the European Union.

Shares of Merck are up more than 10% so far this year, while shares of AbbVie are down nearly 20 percent over the same time frame.


Behind Keytruda, the report predicts Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer’s Eliquis will be the world's second bestselling drug, with sales projected at $18.7 billion by 2025. Celgene’s Revlimid, which treats multiple myeloma, is expected to take the third spot.

It is still estimated Humira will crack the top 10, though, ranked sixth.

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