Global pharmaceutical sales up 7 pct in '06-report
NEW YORK, March 20 |
NEW YORK, March 20 (Reuters) - Strong U.S. sales and growth in specialty areas such as cancer fueled a 7 percent rise in the global pharmaceutical market last year, a report said on Tuesday.
The rise to $643 billion, which also was spurred by emerging markets, bucked four straight years of declining growth, according to the report by pharmaceutical information company IMS Health Inc.RX.N
"We continue to see a shift in growth in the marketplace away from mature markets to emerging ones and from primary care classes to biotech and specialist-driven therapies," said Murray Aitken, senior vice president for corporate strategy for IMS.
Pharmaceutical sales growth has been waning in recent years, crimped by patent expirations, tougher reimbursement policies and lack of research productivity. Drug sales have declined annually since rising 11.8 percent in 2001, including a 6.8 percent increase in 2005.
In 2006, sales of products prescribed mainly by specialists helped drive growth, jumping 11 percent to $230 billion. Cancer drugs topped the specialist categories, with sales up nearly 21 percent to $34.6 billion.
Recently launched products such as Pfizer Inc.'s (PFE.N) Sutent, and Nexavar from Bayer AG BAYG.DE and Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ONXX.O), helped sales, as did newly approved uses or broader acceptance for drugs such as Genentech Inc.'s DNA.N Avastin.
"The uptake of these products ... is strong because these are innovative and effective treatments," Aitken said. "They are also expensive."
Thirty-one entirely new drugs were launched last year, including cervical-cancer vaccine Gardasil and diabetes drug Januvia, both from Merck & Co. Inc.(MRK.N)
Some new drugs stumbled out of the gate, IMS said, including Pfizer's inhaled insulin, Exubera, which faced reimbursement issues, and Sanofi-Aventis (SASY.PA) obesity drug Acomplia, which has had an extended review in the United States.
Sales in the United States, the world's largest pharmaceutical market, gave a big boost to global 2006 results. They rose 8.3 percent, well ahead of a 5.4 percent increase in 2005.
The U.S. experienced its first year with the Medicare prescription-drug benefit for the elderly, which IMS calculated contributed nearly 1 percentage point of growth to U.S. sales.
U.S. sales also got an unusual tail wind in categories such as cholesterol medicines, where blockbuster drugs lost their patents and low-cost generic versions arrived. Volume increases outweighed price cuts because of relatively scant generic competition.
In 2007, however, many versions of drugs, such as Merck's Zocor will arrive and hurt U.S. sales.
"This year, we expect to see more pricing pressure, especially in those classes where leading brands are now available in generic form," Aitken said.
Elsewhere, the Indian pharmaceutical market jumped 17.5 percent to $7.3 billion, making it one of the fastest-growing. A robust economy and acceptance of intellectual property rights have helped growth in India, IMS said.
Pharmaceutical sales in China cooled from their torrid pace, rising 12.3 percent to $13.4 billion in 2006, down from nearly 21 percent in 2005. IMS said the lower growth stemmed from a government campaign to limit physician promotion of pharmaceuticals.
Lower-income countries in general are making up a larger portion of global pharmaceutical growth. Twenty-seven percent of total market growth last year came from countries with a per-capita gross national income of less than $20,000. Those countries contributed only 13 percent in 2001.
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