Canadian Prescription Drug Sales Experience Slowest Growth in a Decade with 6.3 percent increase



    Growth of brand-name companies hit by all-time high value of patent
    expiries in 2007

    MONTREAL, March 26 /CNW Telbec/ - Year-end 2007 data released today by
IMS Health (NYSE:   RX), the world's leading provider of market intelligence to
the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries, reported the slowest Canadian
prescription drug growth rate in a decade on sales of almost $19 billion into
Canadian drugstores and hospitals. In 2007, the Canadian pharmaceutical market
experienced a 6.3 percent increase in sales of prescription medications, or
about two percentage points less than the average growth rate of 8.4 percent
recorded between 2002 and 2006.
    One of the key contributing factors to 2007 market growth moderation was
a significant increase in use of generic products due to patent expiries of
several major brand-name products. In 2007, the sharpest year-over-year
decline in sales to drug stores and hospitals was recorded by brand-name
pharmaceutical companies. Excluding biotechnology products, sales growth in
the brand-name sector was only 1.4 percent last year, and in stark contrast to
sales of generic drugs, which grew 20.9 percent as a significant number of
branded pharmaceuticals lost exclusivity.
    "Loss of brand exclusivity played a major role in determining overall
industry performance in 2007. The dollar value of brand products losing patent
last year was at an all-time high of $1.2 billion with two products alone,
Altace and Effexor XR, representing close to 60 percent of this new
unprotected value," said Ian Therriault, senior vice president, IMS Health
Canada.
    Sales growth in 2007 also was affected by a number of product withdrawals
and numerous drug safety bulletins issued by Health Canada. Other mitigating
factors included a very modest uptake of new products and protracted, ongoing
delays in acquiring public formulary market access.

    Generics continue to replace branded prescriptions

    In 2007, 422.6 million prescriptions were dispensed in Canada, a
6.2 percent increase compared with 6.4 percent growth in 2006. Cardiovasculars
ranked as the leading therapy class by dispensed prescription volume in 2007,
followed by psychotherapeutics (anti-depressants) and
gastrointestinal/genitourinary drugs.
    In the majority of Canadian provinces, individuals are more likely to be
treated with a generic product than with a brand-name product. The number of
prescriptions dispensed with a generic drug (48 percent of all prescriptions
filled) grew by 14.0 percent overall in 2007, significantly overshadowing the
0.2 percent decline recorded for brand-name medications. Brand-name products
represent 58 percent and 51 percent of prescriptions dispensed in Quebec and
Ontario, respectively.

    Why Canadians visited the doctor's office

    Unchanged from the year before, the three leading reasons for physician
visits were hypertension (high-blood pressure), routine exams and diabetes.
    With almost 3.5 million visits recorded, never before have so many
Canadians visited physicians to complain about esophagitis (heartburn). Closer
analysis reveals the increase may be due to a return to traditional NSAIDs and
over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen for
osteoarthritis treatment, following widely published drug safety issues for
COX-2 inhibitors. This helped fuel significant growth for the three most
prescribed heartburn drugs Pantoloc, Pariet and Nexium, which experienced
growth of 16.3 percent, 19.7 percent and 15.4 percent, respectively. Combined,
they accounted for 11.2 million prescriptions.

    Canadian pharmaceutical market outlook

    IMS forecasts compound annual pharmaceutical sales growth will
approximate the 2007 levels with a 5 -7 percent expansion through to 2012.
Dynamics that will shape market performance during the next five years include
more innovation driven by biotechnology therapies, greater awareness and focus
on safety issues, a return to price increases provided that provincial
criteria are met, and a lower overall dollar value of expiring products.
    "With the value of patent expiries significantly lower in the next two
years," says Therriault, "it's expected that the disparity in growth between
the brand-name and generic sectors will not be as significant as in 2007.
However, performance of the traditional brand-name segment of the market,
excluding biotechnology products, is expected to slip even further in 2008 to
just 0.4 percent growth."

    (Please view IMS tables detailing 2007 Canadian pharmaceutical market
performance at www.imshealthcanada.com/media.)

    About IMS Health

    Operating in more than 100 countries, IMS Health is the world's leading
provider of market intelligence to pharmaceutical and healthcare industries.
With US$2.2 billion in revenue in 2007 and more than 50 years of industry
experience, IMS offers leading-edge business intelligence products and
services that are integral to clients' day-to-day operations. IMS information
is also used by researchers, academics, government and other stakeholders to
advance health through informed decision-making. Additional information is
available at http://www.imshealthcanada.com.




For further information:

For further information: NATIONAL Public Relations: MONTREAL: Lynn
Bessoudo, (514) 843-2365; Roch Landriault, (514) 843-2345,
rlandriault@national.ca; TORONTO, Jacqueline Zonneville, (416) 848-1398;
CALGARY: Diane Rennie, (403) 531-0331; Madeline Gareau Lagden, IMS Health
Canada, (514) 428-6018

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