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Dispensed prescription volume grew 0.9%
IMS Health’s annual closing of the books on 2008 shows that overall sales grew to $291 billion (ex-manufacturers’ prices), down from 2007’s 3.8% growth and continuing the trend of the past several years of slowing growth, patent expirations and increased generics usage. The number of dispensed prescriptions (contrary to widespread reports of decline) grew in 2008, but only by 0.9%, to 3.843 million.
Other highlights: The top pharma company remains Pfizer, although drug sales dropped from $23.6 billion in 2007 to $20.5 billion. And the top prescribed drug remained Pfizer’s Lipitor anti-cholesterol treatment, with 2008 sales of $7.8 billion. Top gainers among drug brands were BMS/Otsuka’s Abilify (up 29.2%) and Sanofi-Aventis/BMS’ Plavix (up 25.6%). The top therapeutic class was antipsychotics (SSRI and SNRI types), which grew 11.4% to $14.6 billion—but that’s almost a default win, because lipid regulators, the all-time leader with $19.9 billion in sales in 2006, dropped to $14.5 billion in 2008.
By distribution channel, chain store sales grew to $101.8 billion, up 3.8%, carving some sales out of independent pharmacies ($38.1 billion) and food stores ($20.9 billion), both down. Mail order sales grew 2.0% to $46 billion.