Nine drugs reach first-time blockbuster status in 2004
Six pharma companies saw their products attain first-time blockbuster status with global sales of $1 billion or more, according to 2004 sales figures from nine of the top 10 drug makers.
AstraZeneca and the recently merged Sanofi-Aventis led the pack with two blockbusters each.
AstraZeneca's respiratory drug Pulmicort saw 2004 worldwide sales of just over $1 billion, up from $968 million in 2003. Global sales of AZ's oncology drug Casodex reached just over $1 billion in 2004, up from $854 million in 2003.
Sanofi-Aventis' Lantus brand insulin saw worldwide sales of approximately $1.1 billion in 2004, up from $611 million in 2003. SA's blood pressure indication Aprovel broke the billion-dollar line with global sales just over $1 billion, up from $882 million in 2003.
Other billion-dollar drugs for 2004 included:
•Novartis' bone cancer drug Zometa with $1 billion in worldwide sales, up from $892 million in 2003.
•Eli Lilly's osteoporosis drug Evista with $1 billion in worldwide sales, up from $922 million in 2003.
•Wyeth's pneumococcal infection vaccine Prevnar saw sales of $1 billion, up from $945 million in 2003.
•Merck's Zetia with sales of $1 billion globally, up from $469 million in 2003.
•Pfizer's COX-2 drug Bextra with $1.2 billion in 2004 worldwide sales up from $687 million in 2003.
Bextra's blockbuster status is expected to be short-lived after a study found it was linked to heart risks in certain patients.
Bristol-Myers Squibb, Amgen and Johnson & Johnson had no new billion-dollar drugs last year, according to their year-end sales figures.
At press time, GlaxoSmithKline was the only company among IMS Health's 2004 list of the top 10 pharma companies by market share that had yet to disclose its year-end results.