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Global Pharmaceutical Industry Overview


The pharmaceutical industry consists of companies involved in the research, development and marketing of drugs and biologics.


The pharmaceutical market was valued at $1 trillion in 2013, according to IMS. The market grew at a 4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2009 to 2013. It grew well in 2010 and 2011 before a decline in growth in 2012 and 2013.


Pharmaceutical Market Value in USD from 2009 to 2013


The pharmaceutical market was driven by a rise in healthcare spending and high growth in both emerging markets and the biologics segment. In 2013, cancer was the largest segment, accounting for 7% ($67 billion) of the global industry. This was closely followed by the pain and diabetes segments with shares of 6% and 5% respectively, according to IMS.



Key International Markets


  • North America was the largest market in 2013, with revenues exceeding $340 billion.
  • This was followed by Europe with revenues of $224 billion according to IMS.
  • Emerging countries in Asia and Latin America are forecast to grow rapidly. Increase in spending in these countries will be driven by rising incidence of disease, favorable government policies and improving healthcare infrastructure (and the multiplication of drug stores and pharmacies in large cities.


 Top Pharmaceutical Regional Markets' Growth in 2013



Pharmaceutical Key Players


Novartis was the pharmaceutical market leader in 2013 (thanks to a state-of-the-art drug discovery and development department) with revenues of $51 billion and a market share of 5%. Primary contributors to its sales were the drugs Gilenya and Affinitor. In 2014 Novartis is expected to file 10 new drugs with the U.S.’s Federal Drugs Administration (FDA). Pfizer was close behind Novartis with a 4% shareof the global market according to IMS. Pfizer too is expected to file six new drugs with the FDA in 2014.



The top ten players are forecast to collectively lose share from 35% in 2013 to 30% in 2017, according to IMS. Patent expiries over the next few years will eat into the revenues of most companies during this period.

  • Sanofi potential loss due to patent expiries is estimated to reach up to $8.1 billion. The company is then followed by Novartis, Roche, Astra-Zeneca and Eli Lilly with respectively potential losses of 7.7, 7.2, 6.7 and 6 billion dollars.  


Pharmaceutical Sales Forecast 


Pharmaceutical industry trends show that the global market is set to show steady growth in the next five years at a CAGR of 4-5%. Innovative on-prescritpion drugs and over-the-counter drugs entering the market and biologics such as targeted therapies for cancer will be key in driving growth.




Key Trends and Strategies for Growth in the Pharmaceutical Industry


Four trends are shaping pharmaceutical markets.


New Government Policies are Expanding Healthcare Coverage

Expanded patient coverage is a key trend in the pharmaceutical market. China has increased its healthcare spending to $116 billion as part of its latest 12 year plan. India has created a $5 billion policy aimed at providing health services to government hospitals and clinics, especially in the rural areas. The U.S. Affordable Care Act and the U.K. Health and Social Care Act also create opportunities.

The differing nature of the policies means pharmaceutical companies must adapt their marketing strategies for each region or country. A ‘one size fits all’ strategy will no longer work.


Emerging Markets are Improving Healthcare Provision

Improving healthcare provision, increased incidence of chronic diseases, the appearance of safer drug delivery systems and medical tourism are driving pharmaceutical markets in emerging markets. Branded drugs penetration is about 25% (due to the importance of generic drugs) as compared to about 75% in developed economies, according to IMS, giving the potential for expansion in the branded sector. 

Pharmaceuticals companies should focus on these emerging markets. 


Critical Drugs Command Ever-Higher Prices

Prices for life-saving drugs, including biologics, have increased. For example, Gleevec, Novartis’ key revenue driver, can cost $90,000 annually per patient.

Key companies of the drug and medication industry should target life-saving drugs because the high prices and increasing adoption of these drugs are expected to provide sustained revenue streams in the future.


High Levels of Acquisition Activity in the Pharmaceutical Market

2014 has seen a number of large deals attempted in the pharmaceutical industry such as Merck’s deal to buy Sigma-Aldrich for $17 billion and Pfizer’s bid for AstraZeneca. Companies arepreferring to obtain new drugs, drug pipelines and licenses via acquisition rather than investing in a lengthy and risky research process.

Competitors should look to consolidation as a means to improve their product portfolios, share risks and retain their competitive edge.



Leading Industry Associations



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