Prescription Drug Sales Growth Expected To Slow In 2008

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Salesgrowth for prescription drugs in 2008 is expected to increase at the lowestrate in decades, according to an annual forecast released Thursday by healthcare information and consulting firm IMS Health, the Wall Street Journal reports. The report projects that U.S. sales ofbrand-name and generic prescription drugs in 2008 will experience growth ratesbetween 4% and 5%, compared with rates between 5% and 6% this year.

The estimate puts U.S.sales at as much as $305 billion. Worldwide sales in 2008 are expected toincrease to as much as $745 billion, a growth rate of 5% to 6%, which also is adeceleration from 2007 (Whalen, WallStreet Journal, 11/1). In addition, according to the report, the U.S. will seeits worldwide market share for drugs decrease to one-third, compared with halfof global market share two years ago, the AP/Washington Post reports.

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IMS said the slowing sales growth in part is caused by increased FDAregulation and scrutiny of new drugs seeking approval. IMS predicts slowerapprovals and more warning labels in the future (Perrone, AP/Washington Post, 11/1). According tothe Journal, another factoris brand-name drugs losing theirhold on the market as patents expire and generic versions are approved. IMSestimates that generic drugs will fill two-thirds of U.S. prescriptions in 2008,compared with half in 2003 (Wall StreetJournal, 11/1).

Murray Aitken, senior vice president at IMS, said, "What we see is moreinformation on drug usage becoming available and being mined to find risks andsafety issues," adding, "Overall, this means more uncertainty forcompanies, as well as for their ability to get products to patients" (AP/Washington Post, 11/1).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health PolicyReport is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J.Kaiser Family Foundation.

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