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Puerto Ricos sales of pharmaceutical products in 2004 grow 9.2% to $1.7 billion
Pfizer and Epogen top lists of corporate and products sales, respectively
By Marialba Martinez of Caribbean Business
August 11, 2005
Sales of pharmaceutical products in Puerto Rico rose 9.2% to $1.7 billion in 2004, compared with sales of $1.5 billion in 2003, while escalating production costs continue to pose a threat to the island as a competitive manufacturing site, said Douglas Long, vice president for industry relations at IMS Health Inc. during a presentation of its "U.S. Trends, Issues & Outlook" report for the pharmaceutical industry.
Pfizer ranked first on the list of Puerto Ricos top-20 corporations with sales of $183.1 million in 2004. GlaxoSmithKline ($111.6 million), Merck & Co. ($94.8 million), Bristol-Myers Squibb ($92 million), and Abbott Laboratories ($71.8) rounded off the lists top-five corporations, followed by Wyeth Corp. ($71.5 million), Johnson & Johnson ($65 million), Novartis ($60 million), AstraZeneca Corp. ($55.6 million), and Eli Lilly ($53.2 million).
Amgen Corp. has yet to break into the top 10 of the list of corporations with its roster of biotechnology products, though it showed a 9.9% sales growth with $46.7 million and holds on to its 11th position. The company does have a hold on Puerto Ricos top leading product, Epogens treatment to stimulate red-blood-cell production, at $27 million. The next four products are Bristol Myers-Squibbs coronary-disease-prevention treatment Plavix, which ranks second at $26.2 million in sales, followed by Pfizers cholesterol reducer Lipitor at $25.8 million, Johnson & Johnsons anemia treatment Procrit at $19.2 million, and Mercks asthma and seasonal-allergy treatment Singulair at $17.4 million.
"Puerto Ricos political environment has become a distraction from the important business of governance, especially at a time of soaring public debt, crime, and economic problems," said IMS Healths Douglas Long at the Puerto Rico Pharmaceutical Industry Association (PIA) monthly meeting. "Production costs such as energy and utilities and the narrow benefits of setting up a manufacturing plant in Puerto Rico, particularly for second-generation products, is making the island lose its competitive advantage."
Long described other challenges to the islands pharmaceutical-manufacturing industry. One challenge is the lack of qualified human resources to expand the industry, given the tendency of students majoring in science to leave the island after graduation. Other challenges include the increase in U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) monitoring and regulations, the islands healthcare budget, and Medicare prescription benefits to Puerto Rico remaining unclear.
One obstacle, which PIA has been addressing, is the pharmaceutical industrys poor public image. A Harris Poll taken in May 2004 showed the publics positive perception of the pharmaceutical industry had declined from 80% to approximately 45% between 1997 and 2004. The industrys perception now rates lower than life insurance, telecommunications, car manufacturers, hospitals, computer software, banks, and airlines; superceding only health insurance, oil, HMOs, and tobacco. In April, PIA launched a public relations and advertising campaign to raise the publics awareness of the pharmaceutical industrys participation and community involvement on the island.
"We are amid a major global race, competing with other jurisdictions to attract, strengthen, and expand the pharmaceutical industry," said PIA Executive Director Agustín Marquez. "This is a responsibility that requires the participation of all segments of society. It is important that corporations feel welcomed, supported, and appreciated in Puerto Rico. PIAs public relations and advertising campaign was created to acknowledge the contributions the pharmaceutical industry has made on behalf of all social segments, including its workforce, the communities where we are established, the physicians and, most of all, the patients, who are the industrys key reason for being."
Pharmaceutical Drug Sales of Puerto Ricos Top-15 Corporations
2004 vs. 2003
Corporation: 2004-2003 Rank / 2004 Sales (In millions) / % Growth*
Pfizer: 1-1 / $183.10 / 10.3
GlaxoSmithKline: 2-2 / $111.60 / 5.7
Merck: 3-3 / $94.80 / 4.7
Bristol-Myers Squibb: 4-5 / $92.00 / 14.6
Abbott: 5-4 / $71.80 / 15.8
Wyeth: 6-6 / $71.50 / 9.9
Johnson & Johnson: 7-7 / $65.00 / 13.0
Novartis: 8-7 / $60.00 / 16.5
AstraZeneca: 9-10 / $55.60 / 20.5
Eli Lilly & Co.: 10-8 / $53.20 / 0.1
Amgen: 11-11 / $46.70 / 9.9
Aventis Corp.: 12-15 / $36.90 / 16.8
Schering-Plough: 13-12 / $32.70 / 14.6
Hoffman-LaRoche: 14-14 / $27.30 / 8.3
Sanofi-Syn Inc.: 15-16 / $24.80 / 22.5
*Growth compared to 2003 pharmaceutical sales.
This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.