Novel therapies will cospecialtypipelinentinue to garner high price tags, but specialty drugmakers can expect increased competition in the coming years as 64 patents for specialty molecules and 73 patents for biologicals expire through 2021. This presents a $23.7 billion opportunity for generics and $46.2 billion for biosimilars, Dr. Tharaldson said during a presentation at AMCP Nexus.

About one-third of the specialty pipeline is for malignancies. Cancer is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States, with nearly 1.7 million new cases diagnosed and about 600,000 deaths annually.

By 2020, about half of the money spent on the pharmacy benefit will be on specialty drugs, and these medications will be prescribed for fewer than 2% of patients, according to Aimee Tharaldson, PharmD, a senior clinical consultant in emerging therapeutics at Express Scripts.

This year looks like a strong one for cancer medication approvals. One new immunotherapy—the first genetic therapy—that the FDA approved in 2017 is particularly important, according to Ali McBride, PharmD, MS, BCPS, a clinical coordinator in hematology/oncology at the University of Arizona Cancer Center, in Phoenix.

To read details on the 2018 Specialty outlook, click here.