February 8, 2006

Although growth remains slow in Germany's pharmaceuticals market, new studies for 2005 indicate that the outlook is improving. German drug association BPI claims that drug price inflation and cost rises have slowed, a trend the body believes will benefit the market in the long term. Nevertheless, observers have failed to agree on the likely impact of economic reforms announced in recent years.

The consensus is that Germany's drug market grew by roughly 3% in 2005, to some EUR34bn (US$40.1bn). Medical prescriptions totalled around 650mn packs, a significant fall in relation to 2003's figure of 800mn, although the sector outperformed the rest of the market, with value increasing by more than 4% and accounting for 79% of all pharmaceutical sales in 2005.

In the year, the generics sector increased sales by more than 6%, boosting its share of the prescription market from 53% to more than 54% in 2005. Patent-protected drugs continued to account for a little over 10% of the market.

In the non-prescription sector, which includes bulk drugs and OTCs, growth slipped to just 1% in 2005. The non-prescription sector continued to account for 66% of the market by volume, but only 21% by value, with results reflecting a modest growth in self-medication.