PHARMACY

IMS Health: Global spending on medicines to reach nearly $1.1 trillion by 2015

BY Alaric DeArment

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — Global spending on medicines will reach nearly $1.1 trillion by 2015, according to a new study by market research firm IMS Health.

In particular, the study — titled “The Global Use of Medicines: Outlook Through 2015” — found that the share of money spent on branded drugs will decline due to patent expiries and growing use of generics, with spending on branded drugs in developed countries set to remain at the same level in 2015 as in 2010. Meanwhile, the market share for branded drugs, which declined from 70% in 2005 to 64% in 2010, will fall to 53% by 2015. In emerging markets, 80 cents of every dollar spent on drugs that year will be for generics.

While patent expiries mean lower revenues for big drug companies, they also mean more savings for payers in developed countries, which are expected to save $98 billion through 2015. The United States is expected to have the largest expansion in spending on generics, while Japan will still have the lowest, despite policy incentives designed to encourage generic utilization.

“The future level of spending on medicines has striking implications for healthcare systems and policy-makers across the developed and emerging economies,” IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics executive director Murray Aitken said. “Past patterns of spending offer few clues about the level of expected growth through 2015.”

Specialty drugs likely will see growth as well. IMS pointed to recent and upcoming launches of drugs for multiple sclerosis and cancer, while spending on biosimilars will exceed $2 billion per year by 2015, compared with $311 million in 2010. New biosimilars are expected to enter the U.S. market by 2014, and globally, biosimilars will account for about 1% of total spending on biologics.

In addition to significant growth in cancer drugs, diabetes drugs are expected to see spending growth as well, thanks to newer oral drugs and increasing prevalence of the disease; meanwhile, spending growth on lipid regulators and drugs for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is expected to slow.

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Study: Xgeva reduces chances of bone metastasis among prostate cancer patients

BY Alaric DeArment

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — A cancer drug made by Amgen reduced the chances of prostate cancer spreading to the bones, according to results of a late-stage clinical trial presented at the American Urological Association’s annual meeting in Washington.

The phase-3 “Study ‘147” of Xgeva (denosumab) showed that men taking the drug survived for four months longer without the cancer spreading to their bones, compared with those taking placebo.

The study enrolled 1,432 men with prostate cancer that persisted despite castration but had not spread to the bones — known as bone metastasis — who were administered Xgeva or placebo. Study data showed that Xgeva reduced the risk of bone metastases by 15%, compared with placebo.

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Chain pharmacy lauds efforts for safe use of pediatric acetaminophen products

BY Antoinette Alexander

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores delivered on Tuesday testimony on the safe usage of pediatric acetaminophen products before a joint meeting of the Food and Drug Administration Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Committee and Pediatric Advisory Committee.

"As [the] FDA has recognized in the past, acetaminophen is an extremely safe medication when used at recommended doses. In addition, it is one of the most commonly used medications in the United States. With this in mind, it is important to ensure that any new policies or regulations affecting availability of acetaminophen products are workable considering the great consumer need for, and widespread use of, these products," stated Kevin Nicholson, VP pharmacy adviser, government affairs and public policy with NACDS.

In the testimony, NACDS also expressed its support for the recent announcement that all single-ingredient pediatric acetaminophen products will be converted to one concentration.

"We are pleased that the makers of single-ingredient pediatric acetaminophen products have announced that they are converting all pediatric liquid acetaminophen formulations to one concentration. This, as well as other improvements and initiatives they have announced, will help patients and caregivers accurately dose pediatric acetaminophen products and help prevent medication errors," Nicholson added.

NACDS also highlighted its support for weight-based dosing instructions for all children’s single-ingredient liquid acetaminophen medicines.

"We believe that it will allow for more accurate dosing and help to reduce adverse incidents," Nicholson stated.

NACDS has been engaged in review of pediatric liquid acetaminophen formulations. In 2009, NACDS testified before an FDA advisory group detailing its recommendation to include dosing instructions for children younger than 2 years of age on labels of over-the-counter single-ingredient acetaminophen products intended for children.

The association also is a member of the Acetaminophen Awareness Coalition, spearheaded by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association and the American Pharmacists Association to address acetaminophen-related issues and educational needs. The coalition will soon be launching a campaign to educate consumers about the importance of following directions on labels and how to properly use products containing acetaminophen.

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