Over 20 years after the reunification there are big differences in the prescription habits of high priced biopharmaceutical medication (biologics) in East and West Germany. On average pharmaceutical companies earn more than double the amount in the east, per physician and year, than in the west with certain biologics. What are the reasons for this and what are implications for pharmaceutical firms and cost drivers?
NOVUMED® analyzed the distribution capabilities in the German pharmaceutical market by using two case studies in cooperation with a leading data provider. The results will be published within the framework of the publication series NOVUMED® SPOTLIGHT.
A success story: inflammation inhibiting biopharmaceuticals
Biopharmaceuticals for the treatment of inflammatory diseases look back upon a perennial success story. For example the medication Humira, from the US-firm Abbott (Abbvie) with global revenues of 9.3 billion $US (2012), is leading the list of Blockbuster medication by far. Currently, 8 significant biopharmaceuticals for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and/or chronic inflammatory bowel disease are licensed in Germany. Together, these drugs show a total revenue of 25.5 billion $US (2012) and an annual growth rate of 12%.
Due to the high cost of biologics (at inflammatory bowel disease ca. factor 10 above the standard therapy) the prognoses for market development in the coming years shows significantly lower growth rates.
Eastern Germany is the most attractive sales region for biopharmaceuticals
Especially against this background it is appellative that, in Eastern Germany, certain biologics achieve 127% higher revenues per physician and year than in the west. Physicians in Eastern Germany prescribe these medications more often and in higher amounts. The NOVUMED® analysis shows that this mainly results from the historically/culturally lower price sensitivity of doctors in Eastern Germany. The questioned physicians also mainly trust the established products on the market and distinguishing features of newer anti-inflammatory biologics are perceived less.
In an environment of increasing cost pressure on the health system and cumulative challenging framework requirements for the pharmaceutical industry, a detailed understanding of the market is crucial for an efficient distribution.