Few pharmas to profit off CV growth

The market for cardiovascular drugs will grow by $8 billion by 2018, but that doesn't mean drugmakers will necessarily profit. A Datamonitor study finds that because major CV meds are going off patent, generics will play a growing role in treating cardiac disease, making a big dent in Big Pharma's sales in that arena.

In fact, the market research firm finds, only AstraZeneca and Novo Nordisk are positioned to generate positive sales growth in CV meds over the 10 years ending in 2018.

The two biggest CV meds in the world--Pfizer's statin drug Lipitor and the Bristol-Myers Squibb/Sanofi-Aventis clotbuster Plavix--will both fall off patent next year. Other big-time cardio drugs that will soon face generic rivals include Merck's Cozaar and Novartis' Diovan. And Big Pharma doesn't have a strong pipeline of new drugs for hypertension and cholesterol problems to take these blockbuster meds' places, Datamonitor concludes.

But despite generic competition, Datamonitor expects AstraZeneca's Crestor to generate strong growth, because it's done a good job differentiating that drug from other cholesterol meds. And AstraZeneca has the strongest pipeline of late-stage CV meds, too. Meanwhile, Novo Nordisk's insulin therapies are in a "highly defendable position," and its sales are likely to benefit as a result, the firm concludes.

- see the Datamonitor release