Caution: 2009 prediction lists ahead

Brace yourselves for the onslaught of pharma predictions for the new year (including ours). Today brings the first, at least the first we've seen, and at Dec. 2, it's a tad early. But maybe CNBC's Mike Huckman wanted to beat the rush. Mike Huckman offers nine prognostications for 2009 (nine in 09, get it?); here are a few to whet your appetite.

  • M&A of all kinds: Pharma buying out pharma, pharma buying out big biotech, pharma buying out little biotech. Some of this is just common sense; as the economy contracts, industries tend to consolidate. Plus, with biotech companies facing capital shortages--and stock prices on the decline--they become motivated sellers at a price that can really motivate buyers. "Schering-Plough CEO Fred Hassan (photo) told me in a recent interview that biotech is cheap and compelling," Huckman writes. And Hassan is far from alone.
  • Pricing pressure: The big news may be the new U.S. administration and its vows to negotiate drug prices, but the same sort of downward push on prices is going on all over the globe. U.K.'s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence is the poster child of this movement. Look for lots of countries to play pharma hardball.
  • Continued generic ascendance: About two-thirds of scrips are now generics, Deutsche Bank analyst Barbara Ryan told CNBC. That's up from about one-half not so long ago. Don't expect the trend to reverse.
  • More vaccines: This burgeoning market will continue to grow. GlaxoSmithKline may actually get approval for Cervarix, its HPV vaccine this year, pitting it against Merck's Gardasil. But Gardasil could be one step ahead with a new indication for young men as well as young women. And this is only one vaccine space.

You'll have to check out the rest for yourself. Are there any additional ones you'd like to see in our 2009 preview? Let us know.

- read the story at Seeking Alpha