U.S. Sales of Generic Medications Could Exceed $28B in 2005, Report Finds
U.S. sales of generic drugs in 2005 are expected to exceed $28 billion -- almost 65% more than previous estimates -- according to projections released Monday by IMS Health at the Generic Pharmaceutical Association's policy conference, the Newark Star-Ledger reports.
IMS, a pharmaceutical industry research firm, included in its estimates "branded generics" -- generic versions of brand-name drugs sold by brand-name drug makers -- in the sales figures, which "largely explains the significant boost," according to the Star-Ledger. Branded generics had not been included in previous estimates.
In addition, the new Medicare prescription drug benefit will encourage generic drug use and could greatly increase generic drug sales, according to the Star-Ledger. Generic industry analysts and consultants have said the new Medicare drug benefit could raise sales by a marginal 1% to 4% in 2006.
Generic drug sales growth is expected to slow to about 6.7% in 2005, from an average of 13.5% annually since 2000. However, the higher sales projections and the new Medicare drug benefit plan could boost generic drug manufacturers, which recently have been affected financially by delays in FDA approval rules for generic biologic cancer drugs and competition from branded generics.
In 2004, about half of the nation's 3.6 billion prescriptions were filled with generic drugs, according to IMS, and six of the top 10 prescription medicines were generics (Jordan, Newark Star-Ledger, 9/20).
Additional information on the Medicare drug benefit is available online.