Big Pharma CVD sales under threat from generics


Pharmaceutical companies will struggle to profit from the CVD market over the next 10 years.

Pharmaceutical companies will struggle to profit from the cardiovascular disease (CVD) market over the next 10 years, despite growing drug usage, according to a report by Datamonitor.

The business analyst's Cardiovascular and Metabolic Market Overview predicts the market for CVD drugs will grow from US$99bn in 2008 to US$107bn by 2018. Patent expiries and generic competition will have a major impact and Datamonitor expects AstraZeneca and Novo Nordisk to emerge as the only major CVD pharma companies to generate positive sales growth over the decade.

The strong growth in sales of CVD drugs in the developed world will be driven by the increase in patient populations, early diagnosis and early initiation of drug therapy as healthcare providers target the CVD complications associated with an increasingly obese population.

Datamonitor says Big Pharma will struggle to capitalise from this growth as it will be concentrated in the generic sector as budget control dominates healthcare policy.

Indeed, the analyst expects the CVD market to have a compound annual growth rate of just 0.8% from 2008-2018.

"The CVD market is one of the most mature pharma markets and the traditional drivers - hypertension and dyslipidemia - will be heavily impacted by patent expiries and generic competition," said Dr Anthony Nealon, report author and senior healthcare analyst at Datamonitor.

The two largest drugs in the pharma market - Lipitor (atorvastatin; Pfizer) and Plavix (clopidogrel; Bristol-Myers Squibb/Sanofi-Aventis) - are both due to lose patent protection in 2011.

Generics will also have an impact on other blockbuster drugs in the CVD market such as Cozaar (losartan; Merck & Co), Diovan (valsartan; Novartis) and Actos (pioglitazone; Takeda).

Weak development pipelines in hypertension and dyslipidemia will not be able to replace revenues lost following the introduction of generic competition, says Datamonitor.

"This is due to current marketed drugs offering a wide range of therapy options for treatment," said Nealon. "Plus, there are no remaining significant clinical unmet needs to spur on development candidates."

A decline in the traditional therapy areas will be offset by growth in diabetes and thrombosis as new drugs reach the market. The pipelines for these areas are forecast to add more than US$20bn to sales in the seven major markets (US, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK) by 2018, with diabetes becoming the largest therapy sector.

Despite the decline in the overall dyslipidemia market, Datamonitor forecasts that AstraZeneca will see strong growth in its dyslipidemia drug Crestor (rosuvastatin) during the decade.

AstraZeneca also has the strongest late-stage CVD development pipeline with Brilinta (ticagrelor; AstraZeneca) and Onglyza (saxagliptin; AstraZeneca/Bristol-Myers Squibb), which should both generate blockbuster sales.

Novo Nordisk is the only other CVD firm expected to generate positive sales growth during the 2008-2018 period by capitalising on its market-leading position in insulin therapy.