Global Pharmaceutical Industry Growth to Slow in 2008

November 21, 2007
Patricia Van Arnum
ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

Growth in the global pharmaceutical industry is expected to slow in 2008, marked by slowing growth in the United States and other major markets. At the same time, pharmaceutical industry growth in emerging markets is expected to reach double-digits, although these markets still represent a small percentage of global pharmaceutical sales.

Norwalk, CT (Nov. 1)-Growth in the global pharmaceutical industry is expected to slow in 2008, marked by slowing growth in the United States and other major markets. At the same time, pharmaceutical industry growth in emerging markets is expected to reach double-digits, although these markets still represent a small percentage of global pharmaceutical sales. And 2008 will see continued growth in both generic and specialty drugs.

The global pharmaceutical market is projected to increase between 5 and 6% in 2008 to reach $735–745 billion, according to IMS Health (Norwalk, CT). This pace is down from growth of 6–7% in 2007. In the US and the five largest European markets, sales growth in 2008 is projected at 4–5%, marking a historic low for the US market, according to IMS.

 “In several respects, 2008 marks an important inflection point for the global pharmaceutical market,” says Murray Aitken, senior vice-president of Healthcare Insights at IMS Health, in a company release. “For the first time, the seven largest markets will contribute just half of overall pharmaceutical growth, while seven emerging markets will contribute nearly 25% of growth worldwide.” These seven emerging markets (Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, and Turkey) are expected to grow 12–13% next year to $85–90 billion, according to IMS.

Strong impact of generics
At the same time, the established markets will continue to be affected by growth in generic drugs. “…As the impact of established pharmaceuticals losing patent protection accelerates, we see a decline for the first time in the size of the $370–380 billion audited market for primary care-driven drugs,” says Aitken. “In the coming year, biopharmaceutical and generics companies will more aggressively adjust their business models to manage through these inflections, capturing new opportunities in the changing market environment.”

The generics market is expected to grow at 14–15% in 2008 and reach sales of more than $70 billion, according to IMS. Drugs with annual sales of approximately $20 billion will face patent expiration in 2008. Key products coming off patent include “Fosamax” (alendronate) by Merck & Co. (Whitehouse Station, NJ), “Risperdal” (risperidone) and  “Topamax” (topiramate) by Johnson & Johnson (New Brunswick, NJ),  “Lamictal” (lamotrigine) by GlaxoSmithKline (London), and “Depakote” (divalproex) by Abbott Laboratories (Abbott Park, IL). These drugs are expected to lose market exclusivity in one or major markets in 2008, according to IMS.

Changing product mix
In 2008, IMS projects that 29 new innovator drugs will be launched, 80% of which will be primarily prescribed by specialists. Overall growth in the audited specialty-driven market is projected to increase between 14–15% in 2008 and reach sales of $295–$305 billion, according to IMS.