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Apr 21 2010

Blockbuster Sales Forecasts for 2010 and 2014

The most reliable way to forecast the future is to try to understand the present.

John Naisbitt

Interested in what blockbuster drug sales may be like for the next 4 years?  Trying to position your developing therapeutic against the current and future marketplace?  Reuters just released a FACTBOX that contained a forecast of the top 10 sellers in 2010 and 2014.

Consensus sales forecasts for 2010 (in billions):

  1. Lipitor (cholesterol) – Pfizer – $11.7
  2. Plavix (anticlotting) – sanofi/Bristol – $9.6
  3. Advair (asthma/COPD) – GSK – $9.0
  4. Remicade (arthritis) – Merck/J&J – $7.4
  5. Enbrel (arthritis) – Pfizer/Amgen – $7.1
  6. Humira (arthritis) – Abbott – $6.8
  7. Avastin (cancer) – Roche – $6.7
  8. Rituxan (cancer) – Roche – $6.1
  9. Diovan (hypertension)   Novartis – $6.0
  10. Crestor (cholesterol) – AstraZeneca – $5.8

Consensus sales forecasts for 2014 (in billions):

  1. Avastin (cancer) – Roche  – $8.9
  2. Humira (arthritis) – Abbott – $8.5
  3. Enbrel  (arthritis) – Pfizer/Amgen – $8.0
  4. Crestor (cholesterol) – AstraZeneca – $7.7
  5. Remicade (arthritis) – Merck/J&J – $7.6
  6. Rituxan (cancer) – Roche – $7.4
  7. Lantus (diabetes) – sanofi-aventis – $7.1
  8. Advair (asthma/COPD) – GSK – $6.8
  9. Herceptin (cancer) – Roche – $6.4
  10. NovoLog (diabetes) – Novo Nordisk – $5.7

I’ve seen this article referenced and re-posted by several sites (sometimes with minor commentary) but I haven’t yet seen a real analysis of what this may mean.  I also haven’t yet been able to track down the factors that went into generating the forecasts.  I’m especially interested in the thoughts behind the 2014 forecasts (besides, of course, the obvious patent term limits for both Lipitor and Plavix).

Still, even lacking a full understanding behind the numbers, who can resist a little punditry?

I would bet real money that these are based on current data for anticipated population needs, patent length, efficacy, etc…all the usual things.  However, I’d be surprised if there was sufficient time to incorporate some of the effects on drug prices that are anticipated from the recently-passed Health Care Reform bill (see my previous post on the bill, or the FDA Law Blog’s memo for even more detail, especially concerning Medicare and Medicaid factors).

Just looking at the forecasts and taking them as-is for now:  There is a slight drop in the average sales from $7.62 B in 2010 to $7.41 B in 2014.  There is also a sharp increase in the number of biologics in listed for 2014 (injectable biologics, that is).  This would appear to be another boon for biotech companies, but notice how many are owned, at least in part, by “big pharma” rather than your classical “biotechs”.  Of course, a biologic therapeutic is a biologic therapeutic regardless of who sells it, but the size of pharma’s footprint here is notable.