Worldwide sales of pharmaceuticals grew 7% in 2005 to $602 billion, although the top 10 markets – which account for four fifths of the total - saw annual growth shrink to 5.7% from 7.2% in 2004.But newer markets such as China, Korea, Mexico, Russia and Turkey all put in double-digit growth rates, and this has caused the attention of the pharmaceutical industry to shift somewhat from its traditional focus on the USA, Europe and Japan, according to IMS Health."Many of these countries are experiencing significant GDP growth, which helps finance improvements in their healthcare systems [and] increases patient access,” said Murray Aitken, IMS’ senior vice president, corporate strategy.China’s market grew more than 20% for the third year in a row to reach $11.7 billion, and at this rate could become the world’s seventh largest pharmaceutical market by 2009. It is still dwarfed by the big three though, with North America up 5.2% to $266 billion in the same period, Europe up 7.1% to $170 billion and Japan coming in at $60 billion, its 6.8% hike the largest since 1991. Latin America also grew strongly, up 18.5% to $24 billion.There was also an encouraging sign of a pick-up in R&D productivity. In 2005, more than 2,300 products were in clinical development, up 9% on 2004, and up 31% over the past three years. More than a quarter of these products are biologics - the highest proportion on record - and biotech sales grew 17% to $53 billion last year.End of the blockbuster NOT nighIMS’ data also revealed that the number of blockbuster products (with sales above $1 billion) reached 94 in 2005, up from 36 in 2000, and included 17 new products.“The end of blockbusters is not upon us, despite what some analysts are saying,” said Aitken. IMS expects blockbusters to continue to be an important contributor to pharmaceutical market growth over the next few years, due to new uses for existing therapies, the emergence of niche/specialty products and ongoing demand for drugs that treat chronic diseases.While six blockbusters are expected to lose their patents in 2006, the launch of new products and continued growth of those already on the market will result in an increasing number of blockbusters over the next five years, according to IMS.Generics are also assuming a more central role in the marketplace, and in 2005 sales of generics in the top eight markets (the USA, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK and Japan) exceeded $55 billion, and are expected to experience double-digit growth over the next five years."Moderating growth in the top 10 markets, along with the focus on generics as a cost-effective alternative to branded drugs, will present challenges to the pharmaceutical industry worldwide, but we don't expect these to stand in the way of pharmaceutical growth," said Aitken.Top 10 pharma companies by 2005 sales

  1. Pfizer $47.6bn -7.4%
  2. GSK $34.7bn +4.8%
  3. Sanofi-Aventis $30.0bn +8.3%
  4. Novartis $28.5bn +10.9%
  5. J&J $25.3bn +0.2%
  6. AstraZeneca $24.0bn +9.0%
  7. Merck & Co $23.5bn -2.7%
  8. Roche $19.8bn +16.3%
  9. Abbott $15.7bn +8.4%
  10. B-MS $14.7bn -6.5%

Top 10 pharma products by 2005 sales

  1. Lipitor $12.9bn +6.4%
  2. Plavix $5.9bn +16.0%
  3. Nexium $5.7bn +16.7%
  4. Advair $5.6bn +19.0%
  5. Zocor $5.3bn -10.7%
  6. Norvasc $5.0bn +2.5%
  7. Zyprexa $4.7bn -6.8%
  8. Risperdal $4.0bn +12.6%
  9. Prevacid $4.0bn +0.9%
  10. Effexor $3.8bn +1.2%

Source: IMS Health