More proof: Europe is slow, emerging markets fast

The geographical divide in the pharma business is growing ever sharper. New numbers further clarify just why Europe isn't Big Pharma's favorite market--and why drugmakers are flocking to Asia in a new-millennium gold rush, as PharmaTimes reports.

IHS Global Insight figures that pharma sales in Europe will grow at the anemic rate of 2 percent on average from now until 2015. The slow economy is to blame, not just for reducing demand but for causing cash-strapped governments to cut drug prices and otherwise curtail healthcare spending. Meanwhile, public expenditure on drugs will grow most in Asia, with a 7 percent increase expected over the next five years.

What about the U.S.? Well, that drug market may not grow much in the near term, but the U.S. will still see an increase in healthcare spending, basically because the government isn't doing enough to contain costs. If pharma has anything to do with it, the government will continue to stay out of the drug-price equation.

So here's the upshot: European cost-cutting is the big negative, while untapped demand in emerging markets is a big positive. No big surprises there, but it's always good to get the figures to back up industry trends.

- read the PharmaTimes piece