This is how IMS recently referred to 2008 and the next phase of the pharmaceutical drug market.
I recently posted here a pharma market update on drug prices (up), DTC (working), and generics (“the un-detail”).
Here’s the PS for that post, brought to you from IMS, the prominent market research firm focused on pharma. In their latest report on the industry released on March 12, IMS has found that last year’s 3.8% growth rate was the slowest since 1961.
Generics are now more prominent in the U.S. health scene than branded pharmaceutical drugs. The total U.S. market for prescriptions is valued at $275 billion retail. By 2007, generics’ share of that total rose to 65% from 47% in 2001. But while they make up 2 of every 3 pills prescribed, they account for only 20% of drug spending. IMS data show the generic drug segment is growing 13 to 15% a year by volume — much faster than branded meds.
At the same time, as I reported in my post on pharma earlier this month, branded pharma products will lose even more patent value by 2012 — as much as $18 bn.
Health Populi’s Hot Points: For consumers, in the short run, the lower price of generics feels like a very good thing for the pocketbook. For manageable conditions like allergies and hypertension, that’s terrific. But IMS issues a warning with which I agree: “If you don’t have a new brand, you can’t have a copy of it.” IMS expects that the current “innovation drought” could result in a “generic drought” within about six years. That’s not good news for anyone. A rich pipeline with new-new pharma products is what’s good for the public, and we don’t have that today. Generics’ “golden era” is thus limited by branded pharma’s pipeline. What would Dr. Kildare and Ben Casey, the two Top Docs of TV in 1961, think of this situation? No Bonanza for patients, that’s for sure.