US Pharma Market To Decline in 2009

Apr 22, 2009
By Pharmaceutical Executive Editors

IMS Health today lowered its expectations for world pharmaceutical market growth in 2009 from 4.5–5.5 percent growth to 2.5–3.5 percent. The United States market is taking an even bigger hit; it’s predicted to decline 1 to 2 percent, the first time the US has declined in the last 50 years.

“The US market will be smaller in 2009 than it was in 2008.” said Murray Aitken, senior vice president, Healthcare Insight, IMS. “And if we look out through 2013, the compound annual growth rate is essentially zero.”

It isn’t hard to guess what’s causing pharma’s downturn. The worldwide recession and looming patent expirations are pounding the industry on two fronts.

“Most of this can be attributed to the deterioration of expectations for global economic growth that has occurred over the last six months or so,” Aitken said. “Pharma has been on a slowing trend for the past few years.”

IMS has been looking at the industry on a country-by-country basis to see how the pharma is being influenced by the broader economy. “Patients can start responding differently because there is lower discretionary expenditure, which is a problem in high cash-pay markets,” Aitken said. “The other type of change is more on a policy or funding front, where because of budget deficits there’s less money available to precipitate price cuts or restrictions in access.”

Also, while many new treatments are reaching the market, many are specialty treatments, designed to serve a very small patient population.

Aitken noted that this year is different from prior downturns because the decline cannot be attributed to the withdrawal of a major product from the market, as was the case when Vioxx was pulled from the shelves in 2006. There also haven’t been many high profile products with safety issues in the past 12 months.

According to IMS, one of the factors keeping the industry from plummeting into a deeper hole is the emerging markets, which are predicted to grow 13–16 percent by 2013.

These seven “pharmerging” markets include India, China, South Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, and Turkey; they are expected to contribute 40 to 50 percent of the total global growth each year over the next five years.

“Our clients are not only concerned about the immediate effect of this economic crisis, but the cumulative effects of loss of exclusivity, fewer products coming to market, slower uptake, etcetera,” Aitken said. “The economic crisis is adding another layer of complexity to the issues they already face, and it is, we believe, precipitating more action on [pharma manufacturers’] part to redesign their commercial models to fit the needs of the current and future world order”

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