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U.S. Prescription Drugs Market Size, Share & COVID-19 Impact Analysis, By Product Type (Generic Drugs, Orphan Drugs, and Other Prescription Drugs), By Therapy Area (Oncology, Central Nervous System, Vaccines, Immunosuppressants, and Others), By Distribution Channel (Hospital Pharmacies, Retail Pharmacies & Drug Stores, and Online Pharmacies), and Country Forecast, 2023-2030

Region : United States | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI108971



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The U.S. prescription drugs market size was valued at USD 461.33 billion in 2022 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 7.3% during the forecast period.

Prescription drugs can be defined as pharmaceutical drugs dispensed through a medical prescription by a healthcare professional.  These drugs are prescribed for several therapeutic indications, such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes, among others, across the globe. The launch of these drugs is regulated through regulatory agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) through the New Drug Application (NDA) process for marketing across the globe.

The adoption of these drugs is increasing across the country owing to the higher prevalence of chronic diseases and an increasing number of prescriptions written by healthcare professionals. Although there has been a rise in the number of drugs introduced, including those receiving over-the-counter status in the U.S., healthcare professionals are emphasizing treating patients with these drugs to a comparatively larger extent. 

This, along with the increasing number of these drugs being introduced by market players, is further augmenting the demand for these drugs.

  • For instance, according to an article published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2021, the U.S. healthcare system spent USD 603.0 billion on prescription drugs, up from USD 582.0 billion in 2020, with USD 421.0 billion allocated to retail drugs.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a decline in the market in 2020. This was owing to the limited number of patient visits to hospitals and low dispersion of prescriptions by healthcare professionals, further lowering the demand and adoption of these drugs.

U.S. Prescription Drugs Market Trends

High Demand for Generic Drugs across the Country

The high costs of prescription drugs are evident across the country. Thus, the U.S. patient population is now emphasizing the use of potent and cost-effective generic products compared to brand drugs for their existing clinical conditions. Moreover, the increased production of low-cost generic drugs by significant drug manufacturers is expanding their presence in the U.S. market, catering to market growth.

  • According to data from the Association for Accessible Medicines (AAM), in 2021, 91.0% of prescriptions were filled with generic drugs in the U.S.

These factors, coupled with increasing players' initiatives to introduce brand drug equivalents, further aid in market growth.

U.S. Prescription Drugs Market Growth Factors

Rising Approval of Orphan Drugs by Regulatory Agencies to Fuel Product Demand

The demand for drugs through prescription is increasing across the country owing to rising chronic disease prevalence among the population. Thus, the industry players are focusing on introducing orphan drugs to treat life-threatening or seriously debilitating conditions among patients, such as cystic fibrosis, acromegaly/gigantism, and Duncan's Syndrome, among others.

Moreover, the rising approval of these drugs increases the presence of these drugs across the country, further driving the market growth. Rising R&D initiatives by key players for the development of specialty drugs across serious indications further augment the growth of the market.

  • As per statistics published by Pharmaceutical Technology in January 2022, about 21 new orphan drugs were launched in the U.S. in 2021.

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The total prescription drug spending by the U.S. in 2022 was higher than other developed countries such as Australia (13.9 billion) and the U.K. (10.5 billion).


High Costs of Specialty Prescription Drugs Compared to Over-the-Counter Drugs to Hamper Market Growth

Though the demand for pharmaceutical drugs is increasing across the country owing to extensive disease prevalence, the costs associated with these drugs are high for numerous prescription drugs. In addition, the rising launch of brand-equivalent biosimilar drugs nationwide will further limit market growth. Increasing penetration of cost-effective over-the-counter drugs for similar disease indications and equal efficiency as compared to specialty drugs, is further anticipated to hamper the U.S. prescription drugs market growth.

  • As per RAND Corporation Report in 2021, the prescription drug prices in the U.S. were significantly an average 2.56 times higher compared to 32 other nations across the globe.

U.S. Prescription Drugs Market Segmentation Analysis

By Product Type Analysis 

Based on product type, the market is segmented into generic drugs, orphan drugs, and other prescription drugs. 

The other prescription drugs segment held a dominant share in 2022, owing to the rise in the adoption of these drugs for pain management and diabetes treatment among the population. Moreover, the increase in the number of drugs prescribed by healthcare professionals for several disease treatments augments the segment share.

  • As per an article published by SingleCare Administrators in February 2023, the Health Policy Institute revealed that about 66.0% of U.S. adults consumed prescription drugs in 2021.

By Therapy Area Analysis

In terms of therapy area, the market is segmented into central nervous system, vaccines, oncology immunosuppressants, and others.

The oncology segment held the highest U.S. prescription drugs market share among therapy areas. The highest share was attributed to the rise in the prevalence of cancer among the U.S. population and the increasing emphasis of key players on the introduction of new drugs for various indications in the market.

The rising demand for oncology drugs such as keytruda, revlimid and opdivo for the treatment of chronic diseases such as melanoma, multiple myeloma, and lung cancer, among others, is further driving the segmental growth in the market.

  • As per MJH Life Sciences statistics, in December 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved seven new oncology drugs in 2021.

By Distribution Channel Analysis 

In terms of distribution channel, the market is segmented into retail pharmacies, hospital pharmacies & drug stores, and online pharmacies.

The hospital pharmacies segment dominated the market due to the rise in demand for specialty drugs for treating critical diseases such as cancers and orphan diseases across hospital settings. Moreover, the rise in prescription drug acquisition by hospitals owing to high demand and the increasing number of hospital pharmacies across the country is further driving the segment growth.

  • As per Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) data published in September 2022, the non-federal hospitals spent around USD 41.0 billion on these drugs in 2021.

List of Key Companies in U.S. Prescription Drugs Market

Novartis and Pfizer Dominate Due to their Strong Distribution Network

This market includes prominent market players such as Novartis AG, Sanofi, and Pfizer Inc. The presence of a robust product portfolio and diverse distribution network of these players across key applications such as immunology, oncology, and vaccines propel their company share in the market. Moreover, high sales of these drugs nationwide further drive growth in market share.

  • As per Novartis Annual report statistics in 2022, the Cosentyx prescription drug used for clinical indications such as psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis generated sales of USD 2,770 million in the U.S.

Other prominent players, such as Viatris, AstraZeneca, AbbVie, Inc., and Lupin Pharmaceuticals, Inc., are focusing on producing and launching generic equivalents of many specialty and orphan drugs. Drug manufacturers' initiatives are projected to gain substantial market share during the forecast period and positively impact the U.S. market.

An Infographic Representation of U.S. Prescription Drugs Market

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  • June 2023: The U.S. FDA approved Jardiance (empagliflozin) and Synjardy (empagliflozin and metformin hydrochloride) manufactured by Boehringer Ingelheim International GmbH to improve blood sugar control in children ten years and older with type 2 diabetes.

  • April 2022: Novartis AG announced the accelerated FDA approval of Vijoice (alpelisib) for treating adult and pediatric patients with severe manifestations of PIK3CA-Related Overgrowth Spectrum (PROS) who require systemic therapy.

  • March 2021: Astellas Pharma Inc., announced the FDA approval of generic Myrbetriq (mirabegron) tablets for treating neurogenic detrusor overactivity (NDO) in pediatric patients aged three years and older.


The market research report provides a thorough analysis of the market. It focuses on key features such as the prevalence of key diseases in various countries in 2022, pipeline analysis, key industry developments, new product approvals and regulatory scenarios across key regions. In addition, the report offers insights into the market trends and highlights key industry developments. In addition to the above-mentioned factors, the report includes numerous factors that have contributed to the growth of the market over recent years.

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Report Scope & Segmentation 



Study Period


Base Year


Estimated Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period


Growth Rate

CAGR of 7.3% from 2023 to 2030


Value (USD Billion)


By Product Type

  • Generic Drugs

  • Orphan Drugs

  • Other Prescription Drugs

By Therapy Area

  • Oncology

  • Central Nervous System

  • Vaccines

  • Immunosuppressants

  • Others

By Distribution Channel

  • Hospital Pharmacies

  • Retail Pharmacies & Drug Stores

  • Online Pharmacies

Frequently Asked Questions

According to Fortune Business Insights, the global market size was USD 461.33 billion in 2022.

The market is expected to exhibit a CAGR of 7.3% in the forecast period (2023-2030).

By product type, the other prescription drugs segment is the leading segment of the market.

Novartis AG and Pfizer, Inc. are the leading players in the U.S. market.

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