Reuters reports on IMS Health data that says US spending on drugs grew by only 2.3% in 2010 -- or the second lowest level in 55 years. This confirms the fears, no doubt, of Big Pharma executives as they look at heightened generic competition, increasing patent expirations and slackening product development pipelines.
The good news, if any, was that the US market remains the largest for drugs at $307.4 billion. The subsidence of flu in 2010, more generics, and less spending on newer therapies were cited as reasons the growth rate dived from 5.1% in 2009 to the 2.3% in 2010. Though the 2010 rate was second lowest in the past 55 years, you only have to harken back to 2008 at 1.8% to find the lowest rate in that time span. OUCH! And the impact of Lipitor's patent expiration this year hasn't even been felt yet.
Other factoids include:
- Patient visits to doc offices down 4.2%
- Patients starting treatments for chronic disorders fell by 3.4 million (unemployment and health insurance or lack thereof blamed)
- Medicare Part D and Medicaid prescriptions up to 30% of total (compared to only 22% in 2006)
- Spending on generics rose 21.7% and account for 78% of all retail prescriptions
Posted by Bruce Lehr April 19th 2011.