Global spending on prescription medicines will reach nearly $1.5 trillion by 2021, although the annual rate of growth will decrease from recent years, according to a forecast by Quintiles IMS Holding.

Rivals Novo Nordisk and Sanofi have won U.S. approval for new combination drugs to treat diabetes, sparking a fresh battle for sales in a fiercely competitive market.

Sanofi and Regeneron will continue a large clinical outcomes study for the injectable cholesterol-lowering drug Praluent, confounding hopes of an early win.

Amgen’s multiple myeloma drug did not fare better than Takeda’s older therapy Velcade in a study involving patients who had not yet been treated for the disease.

Novartis’ Zykadia drug performed well against a rare form of lung cancer, citing a study the Swiss company hopes will help it win expanded regulatory approval.

The U.S. FDA approved a pill that combines aspirin and the acid-fighting drug omeprazole to guard against gastric ulcers in patients who require daily aspirin.

Long term use of AstraZeneca’s blood thinner Brilinta has been recommended as a cost-effective option in the UK for treating patients after a heart attack.

Healthcare spending in the United States will likely grow by an average 5.8 percent per year over the next decade according to updated projections from the federal government.

Investors in AbbVie are getting a bit antsy as that company’s blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis drug Humira loses its patent protection later this year.

The outlook remains bright due to a favorable regulatory arena, support for biopharma-friendly legislation and development incentives, expanding scientific opportunities in key therapeutic areas such as immuno-oncology, and big pharma’s continued push to obtain innovation.