RUGBY MOVES INTO TOP 40 FIRMS IN U.S. MARKET DURING 1989 BASED ON RETAIL PHARMACY SALES; GENERIC INDUSTRY SALES GROW 13% THROUGH OCTOBER DESPITE SCANDAL
Rugby Labs is now among the top 40 of the 100 largest pharmaceutical firms, according to data on drug store purchases presented by IMS Market Research Division VP Stephen Chappell at the annual meeting of the National Association of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers in Palm Beach Jan. 24. Data compiled by IMS for the first 10 months through October shows Rugby moving from 43 to 35 on the top 100 list on a 35% sales gain from the same period in 1988. The firm's pharmaceutical sales to drugstores during the 10 months totaled $191 mil., or about 10% of the U.S. generics market. Other generic firms jumping ahead in the top 100 rankings in the face of the 1989 industry turmoil included Mylan and Biocraft. Mylan's move from 95 to 74 on the IMS list came on an 81% leap in sales to drugstores to $70 mil. Biocraft moved ahead 15 places in the rankings from 78 to 63 on a similarly large volume increase of 74%. Just over $100 mil. of Biocraft's products were purchased by drugstores during the first 10 months of the year. Overall, the generic drug industry showed resilience in the face of the onslaught of bad news coming from the investigations into industry wrong-doing, according to the IMS figures. In spite of investigation revelations, retail pharmacy purchases from generic drug manufacturers increased 13% to $1.9 bil. through October. "The 13% change is an interesting one because of the 'generic scandals' which have occurred, as far as 1989 is concerned," Chappell remarked. "If we look at least at year-to-date, what we find is that the dollar volume of the generic side of the business has increased at a better rate than the dollar volume of all other companies. Keeping in mind the impact of price on the dollar growth that we look at for the brand companies and the relative lack of impact of price...in the generic side of the business, that 13% has got to be rather impressive." In addition, Chappell noted that the mix between generic and brandname drug purchases by retailers remained roughly constant from the previous year, at approximately 8% for the generic companies versus 92% for all others. * The impact of the generic drug scandal has been on the distribution of dollar volume to drugstores among the generic manufacturers rather than on overall generic sales, Chappell pointed out. "At least according to these data, it has been a fairly focused difficulty perceived by pharmacists, if, in fact, it is a difficulty at all," he concluded. Chappell's data were supported by those presented at the meeting by industry analyst Hemant Shah, who also pointed to a lack of significant impact on overall generic usage. Data charted by Shah on new generic prescriptions through November 1989 shows a drop in generic dispensing last fall when the congressional and FDA investigations of the industry heated up. However, Shah pointed out that this drop was more than offset by a strong uptrend in generic usage during the spring. He noted that preliminary figures from December showed a renewed upswing in generic prescribing. According to Shah's index of 13 widely prescribed off-patent drugs, generic penetration reached 62% in August -- an all time high -- up from 52% at the beginning of the year. Shah predicts that the index will climb to 75% during 1990. Highlighting 1989 new prescription numbers for key products coming off patent earlier in the 1980s, Shah pointed to the strength of generic versions of Darvocet N, Motrin and the antibiotic Keflex during the year. Since coming off patent in 1987, the rise in the generic share of Keflex "has been spectacular" due primarily to the high cost of the branded product, Shah said. Generic prescription numbers for the drug remained strong in 1989, Shah noted, capturing about three-fourths of prescriptions written. Generic Darvocet-N new prescriptions overtook brandname prescriptions in late 1988, according to Shah's data, and continued to surge upward in total numbers and overall percentage through 1989. Shah also pointed to the continuing rise in the generic market share for Motrin. Shah cited Inderal and Minipress as relatively successful stories for brandname firms during 1989. While the generic share of Inderal is steadily rising, it "is still well below other off-patent drugs," Shah reported, attributing this to "very aggressive " marketing by American Home Products. Although it may be too early to draw definite conclusions in the case of Minipress, Shah noted that "Pfizer appears to have done an excellent job protecting the brand from the generic competition."
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