S&P: Fourth Annual "Top 10 Pharma Products To Watch" Report Published

NEW YORK April 17, 2007--In terms of patent expirations, 2006 was a busy year, with some $19 billion in branded sales reported to have lost patent protection, according to a report titled "Top 10 Global Pharma Products To Watch In 2007," published today by Standard & Poor's Ratings Services. Longtime mainstay drugs, such as Zocor, Pravachol, Ambien, and Zoloft all became exposed to generic competition in 2006. Another large group of drugs, including Norvasc and Risperdal, are scheduled to lose patent protection in 2007. This could push the total for such drugs well above the $12 billion annual average for the past three years.

However, Standard & Poor's believes the pharmaceutical industry will get a breather, with fewer patent expirations in 2008-2010, which will lessen pressure on Big Pharma's R&D pipelines to constantly replace high-margin sales lost to generics. In addition, prospects in the pipelines are rapidly improving. While still by no means considered full, Big Pharma's near-term pipelines and R&D productivity have been improving, with a number of significant new product launches or upcoming launches from Merck, sanofi-aventis, Wyeth, and Pfizer.

For the fourth annual installment of this report, Standard & Poor's selected 10 of the most promising new products and prospects from rated global pharmaceutical companies, based on our opinion of their potential to generate blockbuster sales and their relative importance to the credit ratings on their respective manufacturers. The list includes only new chemical entities that are expected to be submitted for regulatory approval or are entering their first full year on the market in 2007. Sales of the selected products might not be very significant in the intermediate term, especially to the companies' overall business. However, by the time the next major wave of drugs loses patent protection, in about 2010-2012, these new drugs and prospects are expected to be mainstay products of their companies' portfolios.

Posted: April 2007


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