Press Release Summary = It is estimated that the UK pharmaceutical market grew by 10.5% in 2004, to a value of £12.32bn. The UK market is ranked fifth in the developed world in terms of value, just above Italy but below France.
Press Release Body = The Pharmaceuticals Industry Market Review 2005
It is estimated that the UK pharmaceutical market grew by 10.5% in 2004, to a value of £12.32bn. The UK market is ranked fifth in the developed world in terms of value, just above Italy but below France.
The market is composed of two major sectors: prescription-only medicines and over-the-counter (OTC) pharmaceuticals. Prescription-only medicines, the larger sector by far, are highly regulated and controlled. They are only available via a prescription from a qualified healthcare professional and can only be dispensed by a registered pharmacist operating on licensed premises. Pharmaceutical companies are not permitted to advertise these products directly to consumers, and there are strict rules on their promotion to healthcare professionals. Although pharmaceuticals are supplied to the private healthcare sector, the biggest customer by far in the UK is the NHS, which uses its immense buying power to negotiate regular discounts.
OTC pharmaceuticals are available to the public without a prescription and through a range of outlets, although some products can only be sold under the supervision of a pharmacist. The Government has been actively fostering the OTC market for a number of years and new areas are being opened up. However, it has been difficult for self-medication to achieve its full potential in a market where around half the population is exempt from prescription charges. In addition, the market has become increasingly price-sensitive following the entry of supermarkets and the abolition of Resale Price Maintenance (RPM). Annual growth can be significantly affected by product launches accompanied by sizeable advertising campaigns.
The trend towards consolidation in the industry is continuing unabated. Most of the global market leaders are the products of two or even three mega-mergers, and these companies are increasingly forming partnerships with biotechnology companies and research groups in order to enrich their product pipelines. However, there are fears that consolidation may affect the scope of research and development (R&D) activities and also that increasingly militant animal-rights activists will drive more companies abroad.
This report forecasts that the UK market for pharmaceuticals will continue to expand as the population ages, increasing the intrinsic demand for healthcare services. Growing competition and price-sensitivity will bolster the trend towards generic prescribing. However, sales of prescription-only medicines will continue to grow more rapidly than sales of OTC products.