All change at the top for pharma’s top 10

By Phil Taylor

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Cent Pharmacology

Pfizer is likely to lose its crown as the world’s largest pharmaceutical company and by 2012 will be usurped by GlaxoSmithKline, according to a report from Urch Publishing.

The US drug giant is likely to fall to third place, with Switzerland’s Roche also overtaking it and claiming the second podium place, according to the study.

There are also dire predictions for two other top 10 stalwarts – Merck & Co and Johnson & Johnson – which are tipped to “suffer stagnant growth​” over the next four years.

In fact only two of the top 10 companies – Roche and Novartis - are expected to perform better than the overall pharmaceutical market growth between 2008 and 2012, growing at 6.2 per cent and 6.1 per cent, respectively.

To put that into perspective, the global pharmaceutical market is forecast to grow to $929bn in 2012, representing an annual growth rate of 5.5 per cent over the next four years.

Sales growth will remain limited by high prescription drug co-pays for insured consumers, the growing availability of generic drugs and a lack of new blockbuster drugs to replace the leading products scheduled to lose patent protection​,” according to the report, which is authored by Steve Seget.

With that in mind, it is notable that just four of the top 10 products in 2007 are forecast to increase sales over the next five years.

According to 2007 figures Pfizer was the leading company with a market share of 6.2 per cent, ahead of GSK with 5.4 per cent and Roche taking bronze with 4.3 per cent. The top ten companies, ranked by pharmaceutical sales, generated total sales of $284bn in 2007.

Urch also notes that the leading therapy areas by sales in 2007 were central nervous system drugs, with 16.5 per cent share and cardiovascular with 15.4 per cent.

The top 100 blockbuster drugs generated sales of $252.5bn, accounting for 35.5 per cent of the total pharmaceutical market.

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