PHARMACY

IMS Health predicts Rx market will experience decline

BY Alaric DeArment

NORWALK, Conn. Despite always having been profitable despite cut-throat competition, the pharmaceutical market will experience a decline in growth this year, thanks to the global economic downturn, according to a new report from IMS Health.

The research firm forecasted that global pharmaceutical sales would exceed $750 billion this year, compared to the more than $820 billion forecasted in October, thanks to the global economic slump. Nevertheless, economic troubles won’t hit the drug industry as hard as they’ll hit other industries, and IMS expects a rebound through 2010, based on its IMS Market Prognosis series of publications.

“To the now-familiar factors impeding market growth such as patent expirations, a slowdown in innovative product launches and hurdles imposed by payers on market access and acceptance, we can now overlay the economic downturn,” IMS SVP healthcare insight Murray Aitken stated. “There is a clear correlation between demand for medicines and key macroeconomic variables such as GDP, consumer spending and government expenditures.”

The report also noted that “pharmerging” markets would contribute more than half of global market growth this year and sustain an average 40% contribution through 2013, growing collective at a 13 to 16% pace over the same period. China, now the sixth largest pharmaceutical market, could become the third largest by 2011. Meanwhile, mature markets in Japan, Canada and Europe will contribute less growth, about 1-4%.

Many of the innovative treatments to be launched over the next two years will be aimed at narrow patient populations, the report said, with two-thirds of the 50-60 new drugs aimed at the specialty market. New drugs to be launched this year and next year will treat diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, resistant hypertension, asthma, pneumococcal disease and others. Expected drug launches include as many as 10 potential blockbusters.

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PHARMACY

FDA, SAMHSA to develop education campaign for methadone

BY Alaric DeArment

ROCKVILLE, Md. A drug used to treat pain and heroin addiction is one of the most-abused prescription drugs in the country, but two government agencies will collaborate to educate the public on how to use it safety.

The Food and Drug Administration and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration announced Monday that they would launch a joint education campaign within SAMHSA about the safe use of methadone.

The agencies will hold a press conference Tuesday morning to mark the launch of the program.

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Decision Resources releases bipolar depression report

BY Alaric DeArment

WALTHAM, Mass. Psychiatrists treating patients with bipolar depression base their prescribing decisions on a therapy’s effect on decrease in severity of depressive symptoms, a report released Monday has found.

Decision Resources’ report, “Bipolar Depression: Despite Negative Results, Physicians Still Hopeful About Aripiprazole,” based on a survey of psychiatrists in the United States and Europe, also found that an orally administered drug that carries a lower risk of weight gain than AstraZeneca’s Seroquel (quetiapine fumarate) would earn a 21% patient share in bipolar depression in the United States and a 30% share in Europe.

Most of the people interviewed also thought that Abilify (aripiprazole), made by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka Pharmaceutical, is an efficacious therapy for bipolar depression despite its failure in clinical trials of people with the disorder.

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