IMS Health data for 2009 creates an interesting picture of global drug sales and growth in specific therapeutic classes. WBC ( has taken a look and found that the global picture is clearly different when compared to  U.S. pharmacy benefit plan sponsor drug spend.  In the U.S., antipsychotics were the leading therapeutic class with $14.6 billion in sales. Antilipididemics (like Lipitor, Crestor, simvastatin, etc.) with $14.3 billion is number two; acid reflux (Nexium, Prevacid, etc.) with $13.6 billion in sales comes in at number three; and antidepressants (Cymbalta, Effexor, etc.) holds down the number four spot with $9.9 billion in sales. Surprisingly, oncology agents, while number one globally in sales, ranks number six in the U.S.

Here are the global sales and growth numbers for 2009:

Drug Class

2009 Sales (billions)

Annual Growth




Lipid Regulators $35.28 4.9%
Respiratory Agents $33.59 11.0%
Antidiabetics $30.40 13.4%
Anti-ulcerants $29.61 0.6%
Angiotensin II Antagonists $25.20 11.4%
Antipsychotics $23.24 4.6%
Antidepressants $19.41 -1.3%
Autoimmune Agents $17.96 18.0%
Platelet Aggr. Inhibitors $14.60 9.0%
HIV Antivirals $13.75 14.9%
Anti-epileptics $12.99 -19.8%
Narcotic analgesics $11.23 8.6%
Non-narcotic analgesics $11.17 7.3%
Erthropoietins $10.80 -4.1%

Data source: IMS Health

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