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Drug sales growth for 2009 seen as slow, steady.

Global pharmaceutical sales growth is expected to hold steady in 2009 with anemic growth of 1% to 2% seen in the United States as generic competition, fewer new drug launches and an economic slowdown take a toll, according to an annual forecast from IMS Health Inc. (Norwalk CT). The worldwide market is expected to grow 4.5% to 5.5% in 2009 with sales surpassing $820 billion, as double-digit growth in emerging markets helps offset the snail's pace of growth in the world's biggest market, according to IMS, which provides data on prescription medicine sales and trends. The market will contend with a number of forces in 2009, such as multibillion-dollar drugs losing patent protection, the rising influence of regulators and reimbursement on healthcare decisions and niche products playing a larger role, Murray Aitken, IMS's senior vice president for Healthcare Insight, said. Blockbuster medicines expected to go off patent next year include Japanese drugmaker Takeda Pharmaceutical Co.'s Prevacid acid reflux drug and Johnson & Johnson's (New Brunswick NJ) Topamax for epilepsy.

Adding to those factors is uncertainty over the impact a lengthy and deepening economic downturn might have as people lose health insurance or stop filling costly prescriptions. "The economy is one of the more prominent wild card factors in the forecast," Diana Conmy, director of Market Insights for IMS, admitted. The U.S. market is still expected to generate 2009 sales of $292 billion to $302 billion with the worsening economy and fewer new product launches having an impact. New product approvals are at historically low levels, IMS said, with only 25 to 30 new chemical entities slated for launch in 2009, including potentially prominent entries in the diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis arenas. But those numbers may be optimistic given recent foot dragging by U.S. regulators, who have been letting action dates for approval decisions pass without rulings and delays of three months or more becoming more common.

The top five European markets--France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Britain--are forecast to grow 3% to 4% next year with sales reaching $162 billion to $172 billion, while the Japanese pharmaceutical market is seen growing 4% to 5% in 2009, reaching $84 billion to $88 billion. Growth at a far higher rate is projected for the emerging markets of China, Brazil, India, South Korea, Mexico, Turkey and Russia. IMS sees combined growth from those nations of 14% to 15% with sales of $105 billion to $115 billion, helped by increased government healthcare spending.
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Title Annotation:TOP STORIES
Article Type:Financial report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 3, 2008
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