IMS Health Reports U.S. Prescription Sales Grew 3.8 Percent in 2007, to $286.5 Billion
Total U.S. dispensed prescription volume grew at a 2.8 percent pace compared with 4.6 percent in 2006. Antidepressants ranked as the leading therapy class by dispensed prescription volume in 2007. Overall, the top five therapeutic categories -- antidepressants, lipid regulators, codeine & combination pain medications, ace inhibitors and beta blockers -- continued to lead the market in terms of prescription utilization.
"In 2007, the U.S. pharmaceutical market experienced its lowest growth rate since 1961," said IMS's Murray Aitken, senior vice president, Healthcare Insight. "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. Last year, we saw a continuing shift away from primary care classes to biotech and specialist-driven therapies, which grew at a 9 percent and 10 percent pace, respectively. Among the leading therapy classes, oncology drugs continued their rapid growth, at 14 percent -- the result of innovative new medicines, expanded indications and accelerated uptake of products to fill unmet needs."
With prescription sales of $18.4 billion, lipid regulators continued to be the largest therapy class in the U.S., despite a 15.4 percent year-over-year sales decline. Proton pump inhibitors ranked second, with prescription sales of $14.1 billion and growth of 2.8 percent. Antipsychotics replaced antidepressants as the third-largest therapeutic class in 2007, with prescription sales growth of 12.1 percent to $13.1 billion.
Primary Factors Contributing to 2007 Market Slowdown
-- Loss of exclusivity - Branded drugs representing $17 billion in sales lost exclusivity in 2007, helping to drive prescription volume growth of 10 percent for unbranded generics. In 2007, generics continued to replace branded prescriptions in the major therapeutic classes, increasing their share of total dispensed prescriptions to 67.3 percent.
-- Uptake of new products - Uptake of new, innovative medicines represented just $441 million of total sales in 2007, reflecting both the fewest new product launches in the past three decades and slower adoption by physicians of these products.
-- Medicare Part D contribution - Prescriptions dispensed through the Medicare Part D program accounted for 19 percent of retail prescriptions at the end of last year, a modest increase over 2006, and reflective of a maturing program. Today, 65 percent of U.S. citizens age 65 and older are enrolled in the Medicare Part D program.
-- Safety issues - Sales growth in 2007 also was affected by a significant number of "black box" warnings and product withdrawals, as well as safety concerns raised by the FDA for products in the erythropoietins, diabetes and antidepressant therapy classes. Safety issues contributed to significantly lower-than-expected sales for products accounting for approximately 10 percent of the total prescription market.
U.S. Pharmaceutical Market Outlook
In 2008, the expected introduction of new, novel biologics and vaccines, as well as the launch of five to eight new products with potential global blockbuster status, 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.
In the U.S., IMS forecasts compound annual pharmaceutical sales growth through 2012 of 3 to 6 percent. Dynamics that will shape the market during the next five years include the continued loss of exclusivity in major therapy areas, new specialist-driven products, greater levels of therapeutic substitution, along with greater awareness and focus on safety issues.
"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," said 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."
Top-Line Market Statistics and Summaries
IMS charts detailing 2007 U.S. market performance by categories that include distribution channels, therapy classes, prescription products and companies can be viewed on the IMS website at www.imshealth.com/media.
About the IMS 2007 U.S. Pharmaceutical Market Performance Review
The IMS 2007 U.S. Pharmaceutical Market Performance Review is based on extensive analysis by IMS consulting and forecasting experts. Prescription product sales are measured at wholesale prices and dispensed prescriptions are derived from the IMS National Sales Perspectives(TM) and IMS National Prescription Audit(TM) offerings, respectively. Information on patent protection is obtained from IMS MIDAS Market Segmentation(TM). The 2008 pharmaceutical forecast uses IMS Market Prognosis, a strategic market forecasting publication, and IMS Therapy Forecaster, a unique forecasting system based on detailed quantitative and qualitative methodologies.
Operating in more than 100 countries, IMS Health is the world's leading provider of market intelligence to the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. With $2.2 billion in 2007 revenue and more than 50 years of industry experience, IMS offers leading-edge market intelligence products and services that are integral to clients' day-to-day operations, including portfolio optimization capabilities; launch and brand management solutions; sales force effectiveness innovations; managed care and consumer health offerings; and consulting and services solutions that improve ROI and the delivery of quality healthcare worldwide. Additional information is available at http://www.imshealth.com.
Lance Longwell, 610-834-5338
Posted: March 2008