We Americans love our drugs. The American Chemical Society tracks drugs trends and sales both nationally and internationally. In 2012, global sales for prescriptions drugs reached $856.1 billion. Similarly, sales in the United States were $330 billion. The U.S. accounts for 4.45% of the world’s population and we consume 38.5% of the spending on the world’s medications. What!!!
In terms of world sales, Advair for Asthma and COPD disorders, claimed first prize at $ 8.9 billion, following closely by Humira (autoimmune disorders); Crestor, a statin; and Nexium, an antacid. Abilify, an antipsychotic has been steadily climbing worldwide and it ranked as the numero uno drug in terms of sales for the United States. Abilify is prescribed for bipolar disease, depression and now autism, an expanded use for the patent. Abilify was due to go off patent in October 2014, but since it’s has new expanded use privileges on our youngsters, it most likely won’t go off patent until April 2015.
Patent extension is VERY important for a drug maker. Lipitor, the top grossing drug of all time, regularly made Pfizer a very wealthy company. This statin, one of the first of its kind and prescribed to lower cholesterol, consistently made Pfizer and its shareholders $ 7 billion per year. Lipitor lost its patent in 2011 and consequently fell to generic competition. Pfizer’s profits plummeted 19% the quarter after the patent for Lipitor expired.
The top selling drugs in the United States for 2013 were Abilify at $6.2 billion, Nexium at $5.9 billion, Humira at $ 5.4 billion, Crestor at $ 5.1 billion and Cymbalta, another anti-depressant, at $ 5 billion.
This is no chump change my friends. When tossing around billions of dollars perspective often gets lost in the shuffle. So, let’s put this in perspective. There are approximately 7 billion people on the planet. About 1 billion of those are malnourished or starving. It would take approximately $ 9.5 billion to feed the world annually. Another perspective… There are 12.2 million single parent families in the United States. 2/5 of these families are described as ‘food insecure’ and 1/7 use food pantries. Half of all single mothers make less than $25,000 annually. And one more perspective… a recent Huffington post survey said that 62% of Americans find a public college education is unaffordable. My interpretation of all of this will be in next’s week blog/article of the week. You knew it was coming!