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Drug sales growth bounced back in 2009

| Friday, April 2, 2010

Growth in sales of pharmaceuticals bounced back last year as rebates and low-cost generic drugs drove an increase in the number of prescriptions filled, according to data tracking firm IMS Health.

Pharmaceutical sales climbed 5.1 percent to $300.3 billion in 2009 after two prior years of slower growth. IMS Health attributed the turnaround to increased filling of prescriptions, which grew at a 2.1 percent pace compared with 1 percent in 2008.

In response to the economic downturn, drugmakers have been offering co-pay coupons and other programs to help patients pay for their prescriptions. Those programs combined with offers on low-cost generic drugs from Wal-Mart, Walgreens and other retailers to drive sales.

"Some of those factors enabled demand to grow in what was overall a tough economic year," said Murray Aitken, senior vice president with IMS.

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