Drug Sales Increase In 2002; Mail Order Growing

U.S. prescription drug sales grew 11.8% to $192.2 billion in 2002, compared with $172 billion in sales the previous year, according to IMS Health, a Fairfield, Conn., information solutions provider to the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. (The data are derived from the IMS Retail and Provider Perspective service and reflect wholesale prices.) "If you examine pharmaceutical trends over the past decade, 2002's growth showed a return to more historic levels," says Paul Wilson, vice president, IMS Statistical Services. Retail pharmacies (chains, independents, food stores, mass merchandisers) remained the primary distribution channel for U.S. prescription drugs in 2002, capturing 61.7% total market share. Mail service sales remained the fastest-growing retail sector last year, rising 20.6% and capturing 12.9% market share. Clinics were the fastest-growing non-retail channel last year, with more than 18% growth over 2001. Long-term care and federal facilities each grew by at least 16%, with respective market shares at 3.4% and 1.8%.

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