Data Sources - Pharmaceutical Sales

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Data Sources - Pharmaceutical Sales

Key Findings

  • Elsevier provides the Gold Standard Drug Database that is updated daily, even on weekends and holidays. The database includes a vast array of content datasets including historical, current, and future projections for prescription drug sales.
  • The Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) provides a pharmaceutical market database that is sortable and easily queried and exported. This database includes 45 countries.
  • Global Data provides access to a dataset of annual healthcare spending data. Additionally, it can provide structured data for pharmaceutical sales by type of drug as outlined by the World Healthcare Organization.


This research provides five data sources that provide information on drug prescription and sales data. The findings have been included in the attached spreadsheet in rows 5-9. Three additional datasets have also been included at the conclusion of this research that might prove to be useful. Information concerning marketing results for pharmaceutical brands was not available in the public domain and is elaborated on further in the research strategy section below.

PharmaIntelligence: Datamonitor Healthcare

  • This service requires payment to use and a free demonstration is available on the website.

Evaluate Pharma and Omnium


  • The Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) provides a pharmaceutical market database that is sortable and easily queried and exported. The data is current, with May 6, 2022, being the most recent update.
  • The database contains 45 countries from around the world but lacks US data.
  • The default filter on the database is the type of drug being researched. In addition to this, total pharmaceutical sales and many other data points are available.

Global Data

Elsevier Drug Database

  • Elsevier provides the Gold Standard Drug Database. This database is updated every day, even on weekends and holidays. New drug launches and changes are also included.
  • This database includes the following content sets: drug product suite, drug pricing suite, drug imaging suite, drug reference suite, clinical decision support suite, prescriber order entry suite, and a patient education suite.
  • Elsevier provides not only the Gold Standard Drug Database, but also automated updates, evidence-based content, and a responsive data model that adapts as the healthcare and drug industry change.

Additional Databases

  • This spreadsheet includes the cumulative revenue of drugs, along with their first registered date with the FDA, the company that manufacturers the drug, the years since first approval, along with other useful fields.
  • Kaggle provides a dataset for analysis from 2014-2019. This dataset provides the sales of drugs across eight ATC categories.
  • An ambitious data project that documents the sales prices of cancer drugs, depression drugs, and much more is found in this online spreadsheet. The dataset is very specific, including the presentation of the drug and the dosage, along with the price per unit and many other fields for analysis.

Research Strategy

For this research on pharmaceutical sales and marketing data sources, we leveraged the most reputable sources of information that were available in the public domain, including several universities, governmental resources such as the FDA, and industry heavyweights like Datamonitor. The US FDA Drug Database and did not prove to be useful data sources. Both Harvard and the University of Illinois require accounts to access the University's datasets.

As requested in the research criteria, we focused on global databases and resources containing pharmaceutical sales and marketing information. While data is very limited, we were able to provide a range of paid and free options. Data sources and databases focusing solely on, or including, the results of marketing by pharmaceutical companies were not found in the public domain. Therefore, we looked to provide top-tier databases that provide not only information about the drugs, but principally sales information and figures. The free datasets provide generic/composite data but still include some information on specific pharmaceutical brands.

While it might be possible to identify individual advertisements by pharmaceutical companies, gauging the results of these marketing efforts is difficult without access to highly specific metrics normally kept under wraps by the companies. Even when looking at specific companies' annual reports, we were unable to even locate marketing or advertising efforts in order to create a proxy for the pharmaceutical landscape.

We ran into multiple technical issues with websites not loading, datasets not being accessible, and some domains not loading into the Wonder platform properly. In order to correct the last issue, we have uploaded a Google Document that includes the links and screenshots for Elsevier. The links in the spreadsheet function normally as expected. AccessData from the FDA was not accessible during the course of this research.

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