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Heart drug sales continue downward spiral

But revenue has stabilised after a tough three years of patent expiries

Crestor packshot 

AstraZeneca remains top of the pile when it comes to global sales of heart drugs but all pharma firms are still seeing revenues fall as patent expiries continue to bite.

This is according to a new report published exclusively on PMLiVE from analysts at GlobalData, which found that while AZ is top, sales of its cardiovascular medicines still fell by 1% to $7.65bn last year.

This slide was in fact one of the better stats from the top ten firms in this space: Sanofi, in second place, saw sales drop by 3% to $6.6bn while Merck & Co, Daiichi Sankyo and Pfizer - which were third, fourth and fifth respectively - all seeing a 10% fall in CV drug revenue in 2014.

The biggest slide in sales came from Novartis, in sixth place, with a 25% drop and ninth place Boehringer, with CV medicine sales falling 27% for the year.

This follows a similar pattern from the past three years but in fact, whilst almost all firms in the top ten have seen a drop, this is nothing compared to the annus horribilis of 2012 when sales where falling by 1000% to 6000%.

This is almost all down to the loss of exclusivity for all of the firms' major CV drugs in the past three years, including the world's formerly biggest-selling drug, Pfizer's statin Lipitor (atorvastatin), which was bringing in $13bn a year in sales until patent expiries in 2012 saw $10bn wiped off its sales sheet.

AZ's top place is credit to the fact that its major statin Crestor (rosuvastatin) is one of the few yet to face generic competition, with its US patent safe until 2016. The drug made $5.5bn in sales last year, although this was a drop of 2% compared to its 2013 sales. Once its patents start to fall however its top place in the future will be under considerable pressure.

Sanofi has a number of CV medicines including Aprovel (irbesartan), Lovenox (enoxaparin) and the co-marketed Plavix (clopidogrel), which collectively made the firm 4.2bn euro ($4.7bn) last year, helping it into its second place spot.

Although these treatments are facing generic pressures across most mature markets (notably the EU), all three have managed to still keep relatively strong sales overall.

Novartis has been one of the hardest hit in recent years with the patent losses of its blood pressure drug Diovan (valsartan), which was making $6bn in sales a year at its peak, but last year made just $2.3bn.

The Swiss firm has managed to delay some generic forms of its drug onto the market until last year, when Ranbaxy was granted approval to sell its copycat form of valsartan.

Finally Boehringer, which saw the largest drop in the top ten table due predominately to the patent loss of Micardis (telmisartan). The drug was making more than $2.4bn at its peak but in 2014 its sales were hit by generic competition after Actavis gained US approval for its telmisartan copy. 

The latest data for the top 25 CV drugs can be found here.

 

 

Article by
Ben Adams

7th May 2015

From: Sales

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