Este informe no está disponible en español.


Puerto Rico’s 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
Copyright © 2005 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

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 Rico’s 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 list’s 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 Rico’s top leading product, Epogen’s treatment to stimulate red-blood-cell production, at $27 million. The next four products are Bristol Myers-Squibb’s coronary-disease-prevention treatment Plavix, which ranks second at $26.2 million in sales, followed by Pfizer’s cholesterol reducer Lipitor at $25.8 million, Johnson & Johnson’s anemia treatment Procrit at $19.2 million, and Merck’s asthma and seasonal-allergy treatment Singulair at $17.4 million.

"Puerto Rico’s 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 Health’s 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 island’s 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 island’s healthcare budget, and Medicare prescription benefits to Puerto Rico remaining unclear.

One obstacle, which PIA has been addressing, is the pharmaceutical industry’s poor public image. A Harris Poll taken in May 2004 showed the public’s positive perception of the pharmaceutical industry had declined from 80% to approximately 45% between 1997 and 2004. The industry’s 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 public’s awareness of the pharmaceutical industry’s 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. PIA’s 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 industry’s key reason for being."

Pharmaceutical Drug Sales of Puerto Rico’s 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.
For further information, please contact:



Self-Determination Legislation | Puerto Rico Herald Home
Newsstand | Puerto Rico | U.S. Government | Archives
Search | Mailing List | Contact Us | Feedback