Image The pharma industry tracking body, the US-based IMS Health, has highlighted that pharma sales in the US are likely to decline by 1-2% y-o-y this year.

The expected fall in the US, which is the world's largest market, could be attributed to the increasing medical and health-related costs being passed on to individuals. The significance of the forecast is that the US is one the largest markets for most Indian generic exporters, such as Sun Pharma, Dr Reddy’s and Ranbaxy.

Growth opportunities, according to IMS, for CY09 lie in emerging markets, like China and Latin America, which should help total global pharma sales rise by 2.5-3.5% y-o-y this year. Indian generic players, such as Dr Reddy's and Ranbaxy, have already beefed up their marketing network in these emerging markets to take advantage of the opportunities in these markets.

Total US prescription market for medicines grew by 1.3% to $291.5 billion last year, IMS Health said. The market alone accounted for 37.7% of global pharma sales of $773 billion in 2008. For the past five years — from 2004 to 2008 —US pharma sales had shown a positive growth.

The negative sales forecast for the US market this year could add a new dimension to the problems faced by generic exporters, which grappled with strong pricing pressures in key Western European markets like the UK and Germany in the March quarter.