Major pharma firms reported an increased growth rate in emerging economies during 2011 of 13.4 per cent, nearly double that of the global average of 7.8 per cent, according to a new report.
Pharmaceutical Leaders 2012, an analysis of the top 25 pharma companies by GlobalData, also revealed slow US growth of just 2.6 per cent, emphasising the industry's increasing move from traditionally strong markets to emerging countries, including the BRIC nations – Brazil, Russia, India and China.
This is due to rising incomes, expanding access to healthcare and the subsidised nature of central planning governments in emerging nations, according to the report, while traditional markets are being hit by patent losses and austerity measures.
It's a trend that's set to continue too, with a report published earlier this month by IMS suggesting that over the next five years, emerging economies will expand by around 10 percentage points to reach 30 per cent of global spending.
Big pharma's decline in traditional markets is paving the way for the generic industry, however, according to GlobalData's report, with the top five generic companies reporting global revenues of $31bn during 2011, an increase of 11.3 per cent from the previous years.
This has been fuelled by the lost of patent protection for big-selling drugs, such as Pfizer's Lipitor (atorvastatin) and Eli Lilly's Zyprexa (olanzapine).
Healthcare cuts, particularly in countries hit hardest by the economic crisis, are also making the European market increasingly unstable for larger pharma companies, with hospitals in Greece, Spain and Portugal all facing suspended drug sales over unpaid bills.
In addition, R&D budgets have been cut significantly, with the industry narrowing its focus to develop medications most likely to be commercial successful, according to GlobalData.