The value of the global pharmaceutical market is expected to increase by 5%-7% to $880 billion next year, according to IMS Health, compared with 4%-5% growth in 2010.

Much of the rise will come from the 17 'pharmerging' markets, where sales are forecast to rise 15%-17% to $170-180 billion, boosted by greater government spending on healthcare. China is predicted to grow 25%-27% to more than $50 billion next year, and is now the world’s third-largest pharmaceutical market.

Among major developed countries, IMS says Japan should grow 5%-7% in 2011, "a year when biennial price cuts will have little impact". The five major European markets (Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and the UK) collectively will grow at 1%-3%, as will Canada, while the USA will remain the single largest pharmaceutical market, with sales of $320-$330 billion, up 3%-5%.

$30 billion of drugs going off-patent

The IMS Market Prognosis report notes that in 2011, products with sales of more than $30 billion are expected to face the prospect of generic competition. In the USA alone, Pfizer's Lipitor (atorvastatin), Sanofi-Aventis/Bristol-Myers Squibb's Plavix (clopidogrel), Eli Lilly's Zyprexa (olanzapine) and Johnson & Johnson's Levaquin (levofloxacin), which together accounted for more than 93 million prescriptions in the past 12 months and generated over $17 billion in total sales, will lose market exclusivity. However, the full impact of patients shifting to lower-cost generics, as well as other brands in their therapy classes, mostly will be felt in 2012.

Indeed, in 2011, the introduction and uptake of new drugs – a third of which are specialty pharmaceutical products – will "significantly alter treatment paradigms in several key therapy areas", the report says. These include innovative treatment options for stroke prevention, melanoma, multiple sclerosis, breast cancer and hepatitis C and "five potential blockbusters" are expected to be launched globally by the end of next year.

Governments will continue to target drug spending in 2011, IMS says, and prominent examples include substantial reductions in the price of generics relative to their branded counterparts in Spain and in Canada. There will be new price negotiation requirements for drugs launched in Germany and across-the-board price cuts for branded products in Turkey and Greece.

IMS senior vice president Murray Aitken said that next year, "we will see the loss of exclusivity for some iconic brands and a promising new wave of innovation". He added that 2011 "also will be a critical year for gauging how healthcare reform initiatives in key markets evolve and play out amid the expected macroeconomic recovery".