Report: U.S. prescription drug sales grew 16.9% in 2001

July 1, 2002

Pharmaceutical Representative

Prescription drug sales in the United States grew 16.9% to $172 billion in 2001, compared with $145 billion in sales the previous year, according to data derived from Fairfield, CT-based IMS Health's Retail and Provider Perspective service.

Prescription drug sales in the United States grew 16.9% to $172 billion in 2001, compared with $145 billion in sales the previous year, according to data derived from Fairfield, CT-based IMS Health's Retail and Provider Perspective service.

"2001 was widely expected to be the year when generic alternatives would begin to appear for the last decade's blockbuster brands," said David Lipson, forecasting practice leader for IMS Global Consulting. "But we are not seeing the avalanche that some feared. Although the number of major new product launches was smaller than usual last year, the genuine value provided by medicines introduced over the past dozen years means continued strong demand."

Of the 16.9% increase in 2001 prescription product sales, 8.7% resulted from a higher volume and mix of prescriptions dispensed, 4.9% from price increases and 3.3% from the introduction of new medicines.

Leading U.S. prescription products

New York-based Pfizer Inc.'s cholesterol reducer Lipitor® (atorvastatin calcium) became the leading U.S. prescription drug in 2001, with sales of $5.2 billion and 24.8% year-over-year growth. Wilmington, DE-based AstraZeneca LP's Prilosec® (omeprazole) - used to treat acid reflux, ulcers and other gastrointestinal conditions - was the leader in both 1999 and 2000, but at $4.6 billion fell to second as AstraZeneca's newer product, Nexium® (esomeprazole magnesium), grew quickly. Whitehouse Station, NJ-based Merck & Co. Inc.'s Zocor® (simvastatin), second among cholesterol reducers, rose from fourth place a year ago to the third position in 2001, switching position with Lake Forest, IL-based TAP Pharmaceutical Products Inc.'s GI product, Prevacid® (lansoprazole), which moved from third place in 2000 to fourth. Sales of Peapack, NJ-based Pharmacia Corp.'s antiarthritic and pain medication, Celebrex™ (celecoxib) - co-marketed with Pfizer - took fifth position, growing 20.7% in 2001.

Raritan, NJ-based Ortho Biotech Products L.P.'s Procrit® (epoetin alfa) continued to do well, recording the highest increase in growth among the top 10 products. Zocor and Zyprexa® (olanzapine), Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co.'s psychotherapeutic, also delivered high growth at 31% and 29%, respectively.

Leading pharma companies by U.S. sales

The top three pharmaceutical companies in 2001 remained consistent with prior years. Pfizer, the leading pharmaceutical company in 2001 as measured by prescription sales, achieved 13.9% growth and $17.6 billion in sales. Research Triangle Park, NC-based Glaxo-SmithKline, second, and Merck, third, experienced double-digit growth of 22.1% and 15.1%, respectively. New Brunswick, NJ-based Johnson & Johnson moved up from sixth in 2000 to fourth last year, due in part to the acquisition of Alza Corp., Mountain View, CA.

The five largest pharmaceutical companies, as measured by U.S. prescription product sales, accounted for 38.2% of total U.S. prescription sales in 2001, consistent with prior-year results. PR

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