Drug Sales to Hit Lowest Growth Rate in Decades

Growth in global prescription drug spending will slow to the lowest rate in decades as low-cost generic drugs continue replacing former blockbusters in the U.S. and Europe, where governments face new pressure to reduce healthcare spending, according to a new forecast.

Growth in global prescription drug spending will slow to the lowest rate in decades as low-cost generic drugs continue replacing former blockbusters in the U.S. and Europe, where governments face new pressure to reduce healthcare spending, according to a new forecast.

The projection from data firm IMS Health shows the global prescription drug market growing by 3% to 6% over the next four years to $1.2 trillion by 2017. That compares to a growth rate of 5.4% in the last four-year period.

In the U.S., the prescription drug market will actually shrink 1.2% in 2013, continuing a multiyear trend that has seen patents expire on many iconic blockbuster drugs, including the anticlotting drug Plavix last year, which was once the world's second best-selling drug. Growth is expected to slowly resume in 2014 and beyond with the expansion of healthcare coverage under the Obama administration's healthcare overhaul.

IMS' Institute for Healthcare Informatics calls for drug sales growth in the U.S. between 1% and 4% through 2017.

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Source: Modern Healthcare