The pharmaceutical industry in the starting blocks

The new year always brings new challenges, and the pharmaceutical industry is no exception! The end-of-patent rush is slowing, new anticancer agents are emerging, access to drugs is becoming more widespread, and the markets currently “pharmerging” are growing spectacularly, the global pharmaceuticals market is looking promising. Growth in 2014 saw the pharmaceuticals market exceed 1000 billion dollars, i.e. 924 billion euros. Mergers & acquisitions of pharmaceutical firms reached new heights in 2014 with a record 208 billion dollars, three times more than in 2013. With patent expirations encouraging firms to bolster their pipelines of products in development, these transactions are likely to continue in 2015. A recent study by Thomson Reuters Cortellis estimates that 11 new drugs set to hit the markets in 2015 are likely to generate annual sales of more than a billion dollars over the next five years. Among them are an anticancer treatment, a monoclonal antibody and a treatment for heart failure. At the same time, the generics market in the USA is likely to grow. Close to 3500 market authorisations are awaiting approval from the Food and Drug Administration. Biosimilars are set to become more prominent, with the door opened by the recent approval of the first one by the FDA. Lastly, “orphan” drugs are likely to continue their rise thanks to shorter MA times and clinical trials that no longer require thousands of volunteers. According to IMS Health, it could grow by a further 7% by 2018. The big change is likely to be the return of innovation, with high-performing products targeting a broad spectrum of the population. China could enjoy growth of more than 70% as its health system develops, reaching 19% of the world market. But despite this rise the USA will remain the leader in the pharmaceuticals market.

Sylvie Ponlot