Prescription Drug Sales Slowing

The Wall Street Journal reports today that “U.S. drug sales this year are expected to rise just 1% to 2%, to as much as $297 billion, according to IMS Health Inc.”  This is described as a “dramatic slowdown.”

Insurers also are hurting sales by not quickly covering new drugs and by pushing consumers and doctors toward low-cost generic drugs, Murray Aitken, senior vice president of Healthcare Insight at IMS said. Novartis’s Tekturna for high blood pressure, for example, has been a weak starter because there are many good generic drugs for hypertension on the market. That said, IMS also expects a slowdown in generic drug sales. Intense competition among generic-drug makers in the U.S. and Europe is driving down prices. IMS predicted the global generic market will grow by 5% to 7% next year, to more than $68 billion, down from double-digit growth in the past.

Similarly, Michelle Andrews from U.S. News and World Report noted today

How fitting that in these cost-conscious times, some experts are questioning whether pricey new diabetes drugs like Actos and Byetta actually provide more bang for the buck than older, cheaper ones. Their research dovetails nicely with new diabetes treatment guidelines that support trying less expensive drugs to lower blood sugar levels first and only moving on to more expensive drugs if the cheaper ones don’t do the trick.

AFP reports that “The cost of diabetes treatments rose from 6.7 billion dollars in 2001 to 12.5 billion dollars in 2007.”