The Market for Prescription Drugs
Expenditures on prescription drugs account for more than 10 percent of
the $1.5 trillion annual domestic healthcare market. However, a
significant portion of the U.S. population - 45 million according to
recent estimates or more than 15 percent of the total population -
remains uninsured or underinsured, excluded from receiving the drugs
critical to health, longevity and quality of life.
The market for delivering prescriptions to medically uninsured and underinsured consumers is $8 billion strong.
The total market for prescription drugs is expected to top $446 billion in the next decade due to several market drivers:
An Aging Population. More than 40 percent of the U.S. population will be over the age of 50 by the end of 2005. This demographic represents the largest percentage of new prescriptions filled.
Increased Life Expectancy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that life expectancy in the United States reached an all time high of 77.2 years in 2001, an upward trend broken only once in the past decade.
Introduction of New Drugs. The introduction of new drugs for new indications and improvements on existing drugs are fueling continued growth for the pharmaceutical industry.
Direct-to-Consumer Advertising. Pharmaceutical companies have dramatically increased their focus on direct to consumer (DTC) advertising. Industry analyst Verispan has estimated that more than 70 percent of consumers identify drugs for self-diagnosed conditions largely via DTC advertisements, and doctors have been shown to issue prescriptions for drugs requested by consumers more than 90 percent of the time.