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Antibiotics Market Size, Share & COVID-19 Impact Analysis, By Drug Class (Cephalosporin, Penicillins, Fluoroquinolones, Macrolides, and Others), By Route of Administration (Oral and Parenteral), By Distribution Channel (Hospital Pharmacy, Retail Pharmacy, and Online Pharmacy), and Regional Forecast, 2020-2027

Region : Global | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI104583



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The global antibiotics market size was USD 43.30 billion in 2019. The global impact of COVID-19 has been unprecedented and staggering, with antibiotics witnessing a negative demand shock across all regions amid the pandemic. Based on our analysis, the global market will exhibit a huge decline of -22.2% in 2020. The market is projected to grow from USD 33.68 billion in 2020 to USD 39.06 billion in 2027 at a CAGR of 2.1% in the 2020-2027 period. The sudden rise in CAGR is attributable to the market’s demand and growth, returning to pre-pandemic levels once the pandemic is over.

Antibiotics have been the mainstay for treating a variety of diseases. Be it seasonal infections or chronic diseases, millions of patients are prescribed broad-spectrum antibiotics. Over the years, the healthcare industry has witnessed 3rd and 4th generation antibacterial substances that are more effective than conventional ones. Increasing research for the development of antimicrobials, especially multidrug-resistant bacteria, is expected to favor the market's growth.

In May 2020, Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc. announced the USFDA approval for a new formulation of SIRTURO for pediatrics, which will be used as part of combination therapy to treat pulmonary multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR‑TB). This, coupled with the rising prevalence of microbial infections, is anticipated to drive the market's growth.

COVID-19 Impact: Disruptions in Supply Chain to Negatively Impact the Market

The COVID-19 pandemic created havoc across the globe. Almost all the sectors were impacted by the pandemic either positively or negatively. A decrease in patient volume in standalone clinics and hospitals forced the doctors to adopt digital health technologies to sustain their business. The pharmaceutical and medical device companies have incurred huge losses due to the pandemic.

Disruption in the supply chain and import and export restrictions on active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) for manufacturing essential antimicrobials negatively impacted the market opportunities. China, which was the biggest supplier for APIs, imposed lockdowns during the initial months of 2020, which resulted in a shortage of the antibacterial in various parts of the world, including the U.S. and China.

Even the key manufacturers witnessed a decline in the sales of their key branded antimicrobials. For instance, nine months of Pfizer’s Zithromax sales decreased by 14.2% in 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. Cubicin, manufactured by Merck & Co., Inc., witnessed a decline of 44.0% in sales for nine months of 2020 compared to the previous year. 

Furthermore, as per the WHO, the pandemic is projected to increase the AMR among patients. According to the AMR Industry Alliance, 47% of 65 responding companies reported disruptions in antibiotics' supply chain.  These factors are expected to decrease the growth rate of the market.


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Increasing Focus on Superbug to Provide Growth Opportunities

Superbugs are strains of bacteria that have become resistant to multiple numbers of antibacterial. Compared to the typical pathogens, superbugs pose more health hazards, a significant concern for the government. Also, as the market is becoming more competitive, pharmaceutical companies are shifting their focus towards them.

In July 2020, 24 pharmaceutical companies formed the AMR Action Fund to invest USD 1 Bn in developing two to four antibacterial substances for superbugs by 2030. This involves companies such as Eli Lilly & Company, Boehringer Ingelheim International GmbH, Pfizer Inc., Bayer AG, Amgen, and others. Thus, significant investments in this field are likely to provide a significant boost to the market.


Abundant Use of Antibiotics to Drive the Market

Antibacterials find their place in a majority of treatment plans. Since the day of their discovery, they have been an integral part of healthcare delivery. The role of antibiotics has expanded from treating serious diseases to preventing bacterial infections among surgical patients to cancer and other diseases. Thus, increasing uptake and prescribing rates are fuelling the market growth.

According to an article published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), the antibiotic consumption in terms of defined daily dose (DDD) increased by 65% globally during 2020-2015 and the consumption rate increased by 39%. Furthermore, the study estimated that global consumption would increase by 200% by 2030, thus propelling the market growth.

Rising Prevalence of Bacterial Infections to Propel the Market

Another important factor boosting the demand for antimicrobials is the rising prevalence of bacterial infections. Increasing incidence of tuberculosis, malaria, pneumonia, bacterial skin infections, urinary tract infections (UTI), and others favors the demand for antibacterial. As per the estimates of WHO, the worldwide prevalence of tuberculosis was 10 million in 2019. This, coupled with the aging population, is poised to surge the antibiotics market growth.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1.7 million HAIs occur every year in the U.S., 32% of which are hospital-acquired UTIs.  Increasing government efforts to prevent hospital-acquired infections (HAI), catheter and ventilators associated infections are expected to foster the market.


Surging Antimicrobial Resistance to Restrict Market Growth

Prolonged use of various broad-spectrum antibiotics has increased Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) among patients. Being unnecessarily prescribed for various diseases has led to bacteria developing resistance to the drugs. According to the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations, drugs resistant infections are expected to cause nearly 700,000 deaths globally every year. This burden of deaths due to AMR is projected to reach 10 million each year by 2050 in the U.S.

Owing to this alarming rate, the government is now taking steps to decrease consumption by preventing unnecessary prescriptions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, antimicrobial drugs in the U.S. fell by 5% between 2011-2016. Even the patients are avoiding antibacterials as they are ineffective due to AMR. This is estimated to restrict market growth.


By Drug Class Analysis

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Cephalosporin Segment to Hold Major Portion of the Market

Based on drug class, the market can be segmented into cephalosporin, penicillins, macrolides, fluoroquinolones, and others based on the drug class. The cephalosporin segment is estimated to dominate the market in 2019. Third and fourth-generation cephalosporin covers a wide range of gram-negative bacteria and is used for allergic to penicillin patients. This, coupled with their dominant use in treating frequent and recurrent infections, is expected to drive the segment’s growth.

The macrolides segment is anticipated to witness the maximum growth during the forecast period owing to new product launches. For instance, in September 2018, Astellas Pharma Inc. announced the launch of Dafclir in Japan for the treatment of infectious enteritis caused by Clostridium difficile. On the other hand, the rising geriatric population that makes them susceptible to diseases and increased research are likely to favor the expansion of the penicillin and fluoroquinolones segment.

By Route of Administration Analysis

Research on Topical and Transdermal Delivery to Surge the Parenteral Segment

On the basis of the route of administration, the global market can be bifurcated into oral and parenteral. The parenteral segment is estimated to dominate the market throughout the forecast period. Intravenous injection is the most preferred route of drug administration as it has more bioavailability and deeper penetration. This, coupled with research to develop antibiotic ointment, and topical drops for ophthalmic infections, is augmenting the segment's growth.

Since most of the antibacterial are taken orally, they have increased the antibacterial resistance in the body. A team of researchers from Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) is working on developing a transdermal patch for the delivery of antibacterial drugs that will address this issue. The team has developed a novel array of micro-needles that can painlessly pierce the skin and deliver the required dose. This is anticipated to bode well with the growth of the parenteral segment in the coming years.

The oral segment's growth can be attributable to the dominant use of oral antibacterials, rising prevalence of diseases, and favorable health reimbursement.

By Distribution Channel Analysis

Online Pharmacy Segment to Show Maximum Growth

The market can be segmented into hospital pharmacies, retail pharmacies, and online pharmacies based on the distribution channel. The hospital pharmacy segment accounted for a significant portion of the market. An increasing number of hospitals acquired infections and rising primary care visits are major factors contributing to the expansion of the segment.

The increasing number and rapid adoption of retail clinics, especially in the U.S. and Europe, is propelling the retail pharmacy segment's growth. Moreover, the rising over-the-counter use of antimicrobials is projected to favor the growth of the segment. Owing to the rising adoption of e-commerce, many pharmaceuticals are partnering with online pharmacy networks for selling their products. This is augmenting the growth of the online pharmacy segment.


North America Antibiotics Market Size, 2019 (USD Billion)

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The global market size in North America stood at USD 19.62 billion in 2019. Rising prescription rates and increasing research investment in developing drugs for multi-drug resistant pathogens are anticipated to boost North America's market. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2016, nearly 156 million antibiotics prescriptions were written in the U.S. This is likely to favor the market in North America during 2020-2027.  

The market in Europe is poised to surge, owing to the rising prevalence of diseases and favorable health reimbursement. According to the European Respiratory Society, the incidence of community-acquired pneumonia in Europe is around 1.7-11.6 cases per 1000 population every year among adults. This is expected to drive the demand for antibacterials in Europe.

Asia Pacific is projected to witness remarkable growth during the forecast period. According to an article published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), China, India, and Pakistan witnessed a rise of 103%, 79%, and 69% antibiotic consumption during 2000-2015. This increasing rate of antimicrobials is expected to provide significant momentum to the market in Asia Pacific.

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The market in Latin America, the Middle East and Africa is anticipated to grow due to increasing healthcare spending, rising aging populations, and strong government support.


Robust Product Portfolio of Pfizer Inc. to Render its Position

The market is highly fragmented due to numerous generic and branded drug manufacturers at domestic and international levels. In terms of market revenue, Pfizer Inc. is estimated to hold the dominant position. This can be attributed to the diversified product portfolio of the company consisting of generic and branded antimicrobial drugs. On the other hand, GlaxoSmithKline plc accounted for the second prominent position in the market owing to the high sales of Augmentin.

Companies such as Merck & Co., Inc, Sandoz, Taisho Pharmaceutical Holdings, Daiichi Sankyo Company, Limited, also hold a considerable share in the market. A strong focus on R&D and research collaborations are likely to strengthen the market position of these companies.  


  • Pfizer Inc.  (New York, U.S.)

  • GlaxoSmithKline plc (Brentford, U.K.)

  • Merck & Co., Inc.  (New Jersey, U.S.)

  • Sandoz (Novartis AG) (Holzkirchen, Germany)

  • Daiichi Sankyo Company, Limited (Tokyo, Japan)

  • Taisho Pharmaceutical Holdings (Tokyo, Japan)

  • Melinta Therapeutics (New Jersey, U.S.)

  • Other Prominent Players


  • July 2020 – Pfizer Inc. announced that they pledged USD 100.0 million to the new antimicrobial resistance action fund. This action fund addresses the global need for new antibiotics due to the increase of antibiotic resistant infections.

  • February 2021 – GlaxoSmithKline plc announced the agreement to sell their cephalosporin antibiotics business to Sandoz, a Novartis division.

  • October 2020 – Pfizer’s hospital business announced the acquisition of Arixa Pharmaceuticals, a company dedicated to developing oral antibiotics for drug resistance Gram-negative infections.


An Infographic Representation of Antibiotics Market

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The antibiotics market report provides detailed information regarding various insights into the market. Some of them are growth drivers, restraints, competitive landscape, regional analysis report, and challenges. It further offers an analytical depiction of the market trends and estimations to illustrate the open investment pockets. The market is quantitatively analyzed from 2016 to 2027 to provide the financial competency of the market. The information gathered in the report has been taken from several primary and secondary sources.

Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period



  Value (USD billion)


  Drug Class; Route of Administration; Distribution Channel and   Geography

By Drugs Class


  • Cephalosporin

  • Penicillins

  • Fluoroquinolones

  • Macrolides

  • Others

By Route of Administration


  • Oral

  • Parenteral

By Distribution Channel


  • Hospital Pharmacy

  • Retail Pharmacy

  • Online Pharmacy

By Geography


  • North America

    • By Drug Class

    • By Route of Administration

    • By Distribution Channel

    • By Country

      • USA

        • By Drug Class

      • Canada

        • By Drug Class

  • Europe

    • By Drug Class

    • By Route of Administration

    • By Distribution Channel

    • By Country/Sub-region

      • UK

        • By Drug Class

      • Germany

        • By Drug Class

      • France

        • By Drug Class

      • Italy

        • By Drug Class

      • Spain

        • By Drug Class

      • Scandinavia

        • By Drug Class

      • Rest of Europe

        • By Drug Class

  • Asia Pacific

    • By Drug Class

    • By Route of Administration

    • By Distribution Channel

    • By Country/Sub-region

      • Japan

        • By Drug Class

      • China

        • By Drug Class

      • India

        • By Drug Class

      • Australia

        • By Drug Class

      • Southeast Asia

        • By Drug Class

      • Rest of Asia Pacific

        • By Drug Class

  • Latin America

    • By Drug Class

    • By Route of Administration

    • By Distribution Channel

    • By Country/Sub-region

      • Brazil

        • By Drug Class

      • Mexico

        • By Drug Class

      • Rest of Latin America

        • By Drug Class

  • The Middle East & Africa

    • By Drug Class

    • By Route of Administration

    • By Distribution Channel

    • By Country/Sub-region

      • GCC

        • By Drug Class

      • South Africa

        • By Drug Class

      • Rest of MEA

        • By Drug Class

Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 43.30 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 39.06 billion by 2027.

In 2019, the North American market size stood at USD 19.62 billion.

Registering a CAGR of 2.1%, the market will exhibit strong growth in the forecast period (2020-2027).

The cephalosporin segment is expected to lead the market during the forecast period.

The abundant use of antibiotics and the rising prevalence of bacterial infection are significant factors driving the market's growth.

Pfizer Inc. and GlaxoSmithKline plc are major key players in the global market.

North America dominated the market in terms of share in 2019.

The growing focus and research on superbugs is expected to drive the adoption of the product.

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Antibiotics Market Size, Share and Global Industry Trend Forecast till 2026
  • Dec, 2020
  • 2019
  • 2016-2018
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