More MS news articles for June 1999

Drug sales will boom in coming years

Wednesday June 9 1:37 PM ET

NEW YORK, Jun 09 (Reuters Health) -- Although many top drugs will lose US patent protection over the next 5 years, sales from new and existing products will more than make up for any lost revenue in coming years, according to IMS Health, a London, UK-based pharmaceutical information firm.

An aging population, particularly baby boomers who demand a better quality of life in retirement, continuing medical breakthroughs, improved efficacy and safety of drugs, and patient awareness will drive the demand for medication, said Jim Newell, president of global services for IMS Health in a press briefing here on Monday.

"The evolving North American model, of faster drug approvals, greater patient awareness, and move to consumerism is changing the landscape of the pharmaceutical business." Newell said. "While other countries may try to hold back the tide, it is likely that the new global communications media, such as the Internet, will force the pace of change leading to raised growth in all regions."

According to Newell, a survey of the top 40 pharmaceutical companies -- those that he said are truly global -- revealed that approximately $37 billion in revenues from branded drugs is subject to patent expiration within the next 5 years. He said that about half of that amount would be affected by generic competition.

However, he said that growth of existing products and new product introductions would result in a $70 billion gain over the amount expected to be lost from those drugs going off patent. Newell said that this amount is enough to sustain 7% - 8% growth in sales. He expects global pharmaceutical sales to reach $415 billion by 2002.

The global pharmaceutical industry generated revenues of $302 billion in 1998, of which North America sales accounted for $140 billion. Europe generated $90 billion in pharmaceutical sales, while Asia, Africa and Australia accounted for $73 billion of the total.

Nine countries, including the US, Italy, Japan, Germany, France, the UK, Brazil, Spain and Canada, account for 74% of world pharmaceutical sales. Over the next few years, Spain is expected to lead the way with 48% growth, followed by the US with 46% growth, the UK with 42% growth, and Canada with 34% growth.

There is a record number of drugs in the pharmaceutical companies' pipelines, ranging from 330 new chemical entities in clinical trials to nearly 4,700 new chemical entities in preclinical development, Newell said.