Figure 1: top 10 drugs of 2016. Source: GlobalData Pharma Intelligence Centre Sales Analytics [accessed 27 March 2017]

AbbVie saw another year at top billing for the world’s bestselling drug, Humira, coming in just over $2bn over last year’s sales, an increase that is wholly attributed to growth in US sales. In terms of analyst predictions, the Q1 2016 underestimation of approximately $650m decreases to an underestimation of $200m in Q4.

Gilead’s Harvoni showed a noticeable decrease of $4.7bn in sales from 2015. This Hepatitis C treatment was significantly overestimated by brokers in Q1 2016, normalizing to a more accurate marginal underestimation of $22m in Q4 forecasts.

More often than not brokers are underestimating product sales. As can be observed below with products such as Harvoni, Enbrel and Prevnar Family, consensus forecasts created in Q1 2016 following the fiscal year release are considerably under or overestimated, often  stabilizing and appearing somewhat more accurate in Q4 predictions. More realistic forecasts can be explained by the fact that the first three quarters of the years product’s sales are available by this stage so analysts are merely predicting three months’ sales.

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Figure 2: Top 10 products forecast over/underestimation compared to actual reported sales in Q1 [blue] and Q4 [purple] forecast update cycles. Source: GlobalData Pharma Intelligence Centre Sales Analytics Archive Forecast [accessed 27 March 2017]