World market for pharma chemicals to expand

Published: 2-Mar-2002

China will generate the fastest growth

The world pharmaceutical chemicals market will increase by 6.3% annually to reach US$83.5bn (€95.27bn) in 2005, says a new report by US market research company Freedonia Group.

The eight largest drug-producing countries - the US, Japan, Germany, France, China, the US, Italy and Switzerland - will account for almost 80% of demand. China will generate the fastest growth as economic expansion and outside investment fuel the upgrading of its national pharmaceutical industry. Demand growth in the other top drug-producing countries will range from 3.3% annually in Switzerland to nearly 7% annually in the US.

Increasing generic competition, downward profit pressures and tighter price controls will prompt US, Japanese and West European drug makers to seekgreater production efficiencies. Pharmaceutical chemical costs will fall under greater scrutiny and decrease as a percentage of total drug shipments, says the study, World Pharmaceutical Chemicals.

Demand for bulk central nervous system agents will benefit from advances in a number of therapies. COX-2 inhibitors for arthritis, acetylcholinesterase inhibitors for Alzheimer's disease, lipase antagonists for obesity and second-generation serotonin reuptake inhibitors for depression will lead growth. Cardiovascular agents will be boosted by an increased emphasis on prevention, especially new second-generation tissue plasminogen activators for preventing strokes and heart attacks.

Humanized monoclonal antibodies for breast, ovarian and prostate cancer, along with thiazolidinedione antidiabetic agents, will spur rapid growth in demand for bulk hormones and related agents.

Other new pharmaceutical chemicals projected for strong growth in demand include leukotriene blockers for asthma, monoclonal antibodies for transplant rejection, serotonin 5HT3 antagonists for irritable bowel syndrome and vaccines for influenza.

Patent restrictions will continue to deny merchant pharmaceutical chemical companies access to the most rapidly growing drug ingredients, says the report. However, many off-patent compounds will generate favourable sales gains based on worldwide trends promoting greater generic drug prescribing as well as on the expansion of preventive medicine and self-treatment activities among consumers.

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