MADRID, Mar 9 (APM) - On Monday, financial paper Expansión carried a lengthy story about the world's 30 top-selling drugs.
The story was based on an analysis of data provided by companies.
Sales of the 30 best-selling drugs amounted to 133.5 billion euros in 2017, 5.2% more than the previous year. Most of these medicines are still patent-protected. There are currently 82 drugs whose sales surpass $1 billion, accounting for a total of $262 billion in sales globally, a 2.7% increase from 2016, Expansión noted.
Sixteen drugs on the list are approved in arthritis, cancer and diabetes. These are three areas which are increasingly important for pharma. Advances in cancer treatment, an ageing population and lifestyle choices are three social phenomena influencing this sales pattern, the newspaper said.
The top-seller in 2017 was AbbVie’s rheumatoid arthritis drug Humira (adalimumab), with $18.4 billion in sales last year, 14.6% more than in 2016. Two-thirds of sales come from the U.S. market. Over 23 million people suffer from rheumatoid arthritis globally. There are 230,000 patients in Spain, Expansión added.
The third drug by global sales is another rheumatoid arthritis medicine, Pfizer’s Enbrel (etanercept, $7.8 billion); the top 10 drugs by sales also include Janssen’s Remicade (infliximab). Sales of these two drugs fell 11% and 10% in 2017 respectively, the financial reported.
The top-selling cancer drug - and the second-biggest seller overall - is currently Celgene’s myeloma treatment Revlimid, which accounts for 63% of the firm’s sales ($ 8.1 billion).
Roche’s cancer drugs MabThera/Rituxan (rituximab), Herceptin (trastuzumab) and Avastin (bevacizumab) are also among the top-selling drugs, the financial reported.
Pharma advertising spend in Spanish media drops
According to a recent report, pharma operating in Spain devoted 142 million euros to advertising in the Spanish media in 2017, 2% less than in the previous year, financial El Economista and Europa Press agency reported on Thursday.
The report said that despite a general increase in advertising taking into account all industries, pharma’s spend went down. However, it also noted that whereas since the beginning of the economic crisis - from 2009 - advertising expenditure had fallen 47% for all industries, pharma's had grown 29%.
Flu and cold remedies accounted for the majority of ads, which cost slightly over 15 million euros. Pain medicines followed with over 13 million euros, El Economista reported.
Over two million Spaniards cannot afford medicines
According to data provided by Spanish charity The Pharmaceutical Bank, more than two million people in the country cannot afford to buy their medicines, daily La Razón reported on Wednesday.
The charity has organised a campaign to raise awareness of ‘pharmaceutical poverty’ in community pharmacies across autonomous regions, and customers who wish to collaborate will pay for other people’s prescriptions.
The newspaper quoted Álex Brenchat, the charity’s president, as saying: “There are many patients who are forced to stop their treatment [for this reason] and they do not know that they have the option of getting them through the Pharmaceutical Bank”.
EMA recalls Biogen's Zinbryta
The European Medicines Agency has announced the immediate recall of Biogen’s multiple sclerosis drug Zinbryta (daclizumab) after three deaths from brain inflammation were associated with the drug, medical journals Acta Sanitaria, Redacción Médica and daily El Español reported on Thursday, while a number of regional newspapers carry the story on Friday. (APMHE 57192
The drug has been linked to severe inflammatory brain disease. A total of 12 cases influenced the recall. There is a possibility of immune reactions in other organs, Redacción Médica reported.
Zinbryta had previously been linked to liver damage, which made healthcare authorities limit its use. In a joint statement, Biogen and AbbVie, which sells the drug in the U.S., said they have decided to withdraw the drug globally, the journal added.
Merck KgaA income up 60% in 2017
U.S. tax reform and a steep increase in sales have pushed Merck KgaA’s income up 59.7% to 2.6 billion euros, financial newspapers El Economista, Expansión and Europa Press agency report on Friday.
A drop in revenue is expected in 2018 due to competition from Chinese firms and increased R&D expenditure, Europa Press noted.