Prescription Drug Market Growing

Between 2004 and 2009, the U.S. prescription pharmaceutical market witnessed annual growth rates that averaged 5.2%. Looking ahead, IMS Health expects the growth rate for 2010 to come in somewhere between 3% and 5%. The long range forecast contains a bit more upside. Forecasters are projecting annual growth rates in the range of 3–6% in the U.S. market. By comparison, annual growth rates of 12–15% are expected in the emerging countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Sales in the $300 billion U.S. prescription medication market are dominated by chain stores. Over 1/​3rd (35.1%) of prescriptions are sold at chain stores. The next busiest channel for distribution is mail order at 17.1%. Independent stores hold 12.4% of the market, a number that has eroded from 14.19% since 2005.

The top 5 classes of prescription drugs sold in the past few years in the U.S. and likely to hold top positions in 2010 are:

  • Antipsychotics: $14.6  billion
  • Lipid Regulators $14.3 billion (includes statins and Vytorin and Zetia)
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors $13.6 billion
  • Antidepressants $9.9 billion
  • Angiotensin II Antagonists $8.4 billion

The number of prescriptions filled in the U.S. grew 1% to a volume of 3.9 billion in 2009. IMS’s Murray Aitken, senior vice president, Healthcare Insight, says [s]tronger patient demand for prescription drugs throughout 2009, both for new therapy starts and refills, underscores the resilience of pharmacotherapies in today’s healthcare equation.” IMS also noted that specialty pharmaceuticals continue to grow in importance. These medications, often designed to treat “complex, chronic conditions” have 21% of the total value of the U.S. pharmaceutical market.

Based on these numbers, the outlook for pharmaceutical marketing, both professional and D‑T-​C , remains strong.

[Source: Top-​line Industry Data. IMS. IMSHealth​.com. 2010. Web. 23 Jul. 2010] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.