New report indicates times are a-changin’ for drug market
WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT The drug industry is undergoing a major paradigm shift. Companies that traditionally have relied on blockbuster drugs are finding that model running dry as their biggest money-makers face competition from generics that eventually will lead to a heavily commoditized market for the disease states that have been the foundation for the model, such as high cholesterol, asthma, mental illness and gastroesophageal reflux disease.
(THE NEWS: IMS Health projects growth for Rx market. For the full story, click here)
In response, many are changing their focus to high-value specialty drugs, especially biotech drugs. For drug companies, it’s just their way of adapting to survive. But it’s also driving a shift in the world of pharmacy, feeding the growth of specialty pharmacy and, in turn, changing the role of the pharmacist in health care, all the while creating opportunities for retail pharmacies to embrace specialty pharmacy as a driver of growth as the “genericization” of pharmaceuticals threatens to dampen their sales figures.
It’s a trend that’s likely to continue. Pfizer’s acquisition of Wyeth, Merck’s acquisition of Schering-Plough, Roche’s acquisition of the remainder of Genentech and, most recently, Bristol-Myers Squibb’s acquisition of ZymoGenetics, as well as Sanofi-Aventis’ efforts to buy Genzyme, are just the largest examples of the pharma shift under way.
IMS Health projects growth for Rx market
NORWALK, Conn. The global pharmaceutical market will reach a value of $880 billion next year, according to a report by market research firm IMS Health.
IMS Health forecasted 5% to 7% growth in 2011 in its annual IMS Market Prognosis, compared with 4% to 5% growth this year.
Generic drugs will become dominant in many therapies, as drugs with sales of more than $30 billion are expected to lose patent protection next year. These include Pfizer’s cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor (atorvastatin calcium), Bristol-Myers Squibb’s and Sanofi-Aventis’ cardiovascular drug Plavix (clopidogrel bisulfate), Eli Lilly’s antipsychotic Zyprexa (olanzapine) and Johnson & Johnson’s antibiotic Levaquin (levofloxacin).
At the same time, much innovation is expected to occur in the area of specialty drugs –– drugs to treat such complex and often unmet therapeutic needs as multiple sclerosis, cancer and hepatitis C –– and patient access is expected to increase. IMS predicted five potential blockbuster drugs, meaning those with annual sales of $1 billion or more, will be approved over the course of the year.
Public and private payers are expected to reduce their growth in drug budgets, according to the report. In the United States, this is in the form of health plans increasing use of cost-sharing provisions and pre-authorizations.
“In 2011, we will see the loss of exclusivity for some iconic brands and a promising new wave of innovation,” IMS SVP Murray Aitken said. “It will also be a critical year for gauging how healthcare-reform initiatives in key markets evolve and play out amid the expected macroeconomic recovery. For pharmaceutical manufacturers, an unrelenting focus on bringing distinct value to patients and health systems will be essential to navigating this dynamic market.”
Overall, the company expected divergent growth in different markets. The United States will remain the largest drug market, growing 3% to 5% to $310 billion. Japan will grow by 5% to 7%, while Canada and the five major European markets of the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Italy and France will grow by 1% to 3%. The so-called “pharmerging markets” will experience the most dramatic growth, 15% to 17%, including 25% to 27% growth in China, which will remain the world’s third-largest pharmaceutical market at $50 billion.
Walgreens collaborates with two groups to drive flu prevention, boost awareness
DEERFIELD, Ill. Underscoring its determination to be the nation’s premier source of flu immunization services, Walgreens on Thursday revealed it is working with the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases to educate the public and health professionals about flu prevention resources. In addition, Walgreens has joined with Families Fighting Flu, a nonprofit organization of families and healthcare practitioners, to heighten flu awareness and encourage vaccinations for children and families.
In a flu season kickoff, NFID held its annual news conference in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. Health experts at the event discussed immunizations as the best protection against flu viruses and offered new information from the medical community. They also highlighted the complementary role that Walgreens and other pharmacies now play for immunization services within the U.S. healthcare system.
“Working with NFID and Families Fighting Flu –– and through ongoing efforts with the medical community and government agencies –– we’ll continue to arm the public with the information they need to protect themselves,” said Kermit Crawford, Walgreens president of pharmacy services. “With new [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] recommendations, an all-in-one vaccine and unprecedented access to flu shots, our goal is to achieve higher immunization rates that can lead to a lower incidence of flu in the United States this season.”
Walgreens pharmacists, along with clinicians at its in-store Take Care Clinics, provided some 7 million vaccinations during the 2009-2010 flu season. This year, the company has set a much higher goal: to immunize 15 million Americans nationwide.