Pharma market growth slowest since 1961: IMS Health

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Last year, the US pharmaceuticals market grew at its slowest rate since 1961, research firm IMS Health said today.

According to the results of IMS' US Pharmaceutical Market Performance Review, sales in the US pharmaceuticals market were up just 3.8% in 2007, compared with growth of over 8% in 2006.

“The moderating growth trend that began in 2001 resumed last year following the one-time impact on market growth in 2006 from the implementation of Medicare Part D,” said Murray Aitken, IMS' SVP, healthcare insight, in a statement. “Last year, we saw a continuing shift away from primary care classes to biotech and specialist-driven therapies”

According to IMS, total US dispensed prescription volume grew at a 2.8% pace in 2007, compared with 4.6% in 2006. Antidepressants ranked as the leading therapy class by dispensed prescription volume in 2007. Rounding out the top five therapeutic categories were lipid regulators, codeine & combination pain medications, ace inhibitors and beta blockers.
IMS also forecasted that the introduction of new, novel biologics and vaccines, as well as the launch of five to eight new products with potential global blockbuster status in 2008 will help offset the impact of lower generics pricing. An additional $13 billion in branded products are likely to be exposed to generics this year, IMS said.

“The U.S. pharmaceutical market has entered a new era — one characterized by more modest growth due to the continuing impact of new generics products, fewer and more narrowly indicated novel medications, and closer scrutiny of safety issues,” added Aitken.  “We will see additional lower-cost treatment options for many patients, while new and innovative therapies are delivered to specific patient groups, such as those suffering with cancer.  Safety issues will be closely monitored and are likely to bring added caution to the market over the next several years.”

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