The global pharmaceutical market will grow at a lower rate in 2007, according to new figures from IMS Health, largely as a result of a shift in the US market towards greater generic competition and an increased focus on niche products.

IMS is predicting 5% to 6% global market growth in 2007, a little lower than the 6% to 7% range expected in 2006. But the US market will only see 4% to 5% growth next year as a number of big-selling brands – with market value of over $10 billion - succumb to generic competition.

A further $6 billion of sales are exposed to genericisation in other regions of the world, and this comes on top of $23 billion in product sales threatened by generic competition in 2006.

And while growth is shifting from traditional markets to emerging ones, new products are often specifically targeted, with smaller patient populations eligible to receive them, and this reduces their overall sales potential.

IMS’ 2007 Pharmaceutical Market Forecast anticipates that worldwide pharmaceutical sales will be in the $665-$685 billion range next year.

IMS expects between 25 and 35 new products in 2007, comparable to the anticipated 30 product launches in 2006.

The geographic balance of the pharmaceutical market continues to shift away from the USA toward the world’s emerging markets, i.e. countries with a per capita gross national income of less than $20,000. These countries currently represent 17% of the global market, but will contribute 30% of growth next year.

In 2002, the USA accounted for 54% of total market growth worldwide, but in 2007 will contribute only 36%, according to IMS. Countries like China, India, Brazil and Turkey will each grow more than 10% in 2006 and 2007, said IMS.