The end of the boom years has been signalled for pharma, with an anticipated dip in growth to just 1.3% to 2015, according to research from Datamonitor.

The forecast reflects a U-turn for pharma, which had been enjoying robust sales growth at a compound annual growth rate of 7.1% between 2003 and 2009. Datamonitor reports that the main driving force behind the deterioration in growth is the loss of patent exclusivity, which is hitting sales hard.

“The difficulty in developing new products, particularly those that can generate sufficient sales to compensate for blockbuster expiries, has compounded this problem,” said Simon King, pharmaceutical company analyst at Datamonitor.

“This has driven a steady shift away from blockbuster-centric growth strategies towards diversification into other areas of the market. Datamonitor predicts that those companies insulated from generic competition or able to offset it via revenue growth sourced from a high biologics focus or the targeting of niche indications and areas of high unmet need will therefore emerge as the best performers.”

Datamonitor examined 43 branded companies, of which 11 are expected to report a negative sales CAGR over the period to 2015. Bayer, Novartis, Roche and GlaxoSmithKline are expected to be the only big pharma companies that will generate above average growth to 2015, the analysts believe.