Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

IMS Health?s annual US PharmaceuticalMarket Performance Review showed thatthe sales of Rx drugs in the United Statesonly grew 3.8% in 2007, compared with 8%seen in 2006. It is the lowest growth ratesince 1961.

The total US Rx drug sales hit $286.5 billionlast year, with the declining growthrate partly attributed to expirations ofpatents on lucrative medicines, whichpaved the way for cheaper generic versions.IMS Health also cited fewer newproduct approvals, safety concerns, andthe leveling of year-to-year growth fromthe Medicare Part D program.

The brand name drugs with approximately$17 billion in sales lost patent protectionin 2007, opening the door to a 10%growth for generic medicines. IMS Healthfound that generic drugs were responsiblefor 67% of US prescription drugs dispensedin 2007. The company predictscompound annual US pharmaceuticalsales growth of 3% to 6% through 2012.The group noted that new biotech drugsand vaccines as well as the estimatedlaunch of a small group of drugs with apotential of at least $1 billion a year willhelp offset major patent expirations.