China to fuel bigger pharma growth in 2011

Next year is shaping up to be slightly better for global pharma growth. But once again, it's emerging markets leading the charge. According to IMS Health's annual forecast, double-digit expansion in developing countries next year will make up for less-exciting growth in the U.S. and Europe.

Think five to seven percent global growth, with 15 to 17 percent expansion in 17 emerging markets, but only one to three percent in Europe, where pricing pressure is reining in revenues. The U.S. pharma market is expected to grow three to five percent. Totals? $890 billion in worldwide pharma sales; $320 billion to $330 billion in the U.S.

But it's China that's really raring to go. That drug market there is projected to grow 25 percent to 27 percent to more than $50 billion, to become the world's third-largest pharma market.

"[T]he underlying constraints to growth in developed markets are stronger than ever--including the impact of major patent expirations and payer mechanisms to limit drug spending," IMS Senior VP Murray Aitken said in a statement. "We expect the pharmerging markets to continue their rapid expansion next year and remain strong sources of growth."

So, to deliver healthy growth of their own, Big Pharma companies will have to continue their push into China and other fast-growing countries. Eli Lilly, Pfizer, Sanofi-Aventis, GlaxoSmithKline, Bayer, Merck -- they all have their own, individual strategies for capitalizing on growth in countries such as China, India, Brazil, and so on. Will those strategies work? They'd better.

- read the IMS release
- get the news from Reuters
- see the Bloomberg story

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