January 1, 2011 (Vol. 31, No. 1)

Sector Has Posted Steady Gains Even through Difficult Economic Times

Vaccines have been an integral component of the sales of many pharmaceutical companies in the last half decade, and this is as true in Europe as in the rest of the developed world. The European vaccines market has demonstrated growth even through tough economic times. This has mainly been due to the introduction of vaccines in untapped disease markets and government’s acceptance and willingness to pay for new products. As a result, market participants have increased spending in research and development.

Kalorama Information estimates that the 2010 European market for preventive vaccines will be worth approximately $7.9 billion, up from about $4 billion in 2006. The European vaccines market is predicted to increase at a compound annual rate of 10.6% during 2010–2014, reaching $11.9 billion in 2014 as new product introductions continue and usage of current products expands further.

Despite ongoing improvements in pediatric vaccination, it is estimated that at least two million children die each year from diseases that could have been prevented by already existing vaccines. This problem is most significant in low-income countries, with the health disparity between rich and poor countries resulting in average life spans of 77 and 52 years, respectively. In addition to this high death toll, millions more suffer disability and illness because they have not been immunized.

A wide variety of vaccine products are currently recommended to immunize children against disease. Immunizations by public providers are generally paid for through federal health programs. These programs are intended to reduce barriers to immunization and to improve immunization rates by providing free vaccines to qualifying infants and children.

Adult immunization is an important but frequently overlooked part of patient care. Vaccination programs typically focus on children, yet adults in industrialized countries are more likely to die as a result of vaccine-preventable diseases than children. Vaccination protects not only individuals but also entire communities from diseases spread by person-to-person transmission.

For example, vaccination can prevent about 50% of deaths from pneumococcal disease and 80% of deaths from influenza-related complications in the elderly. Pharmacoeconomic studies have demonstrated the value of influenza and pneumococcal vaccines; however, immunization rates for these diseases continue to be low in the elderly populations.

As with pediatric vaccines, the range of adult vaccine products is wide. One particularly important recent development is the introduction of a vaccine to protect against a new strain of H1N1 flu virus known as swine flu.

In 2009, the WHO instituted a phase 5 alert, indicating that the virus has spread into at least two countries and is causing larger outbreaks. This represented the first time the WHO has classified a virus as phase 5 on its six-phase pandemic classification schedule.

Several companies have since introduced vaccines that prevent against H1N1; GlaxoSmithKline has launched pandemic and a prepandemic vaccine products. This contributed to very strong growth of influenza vaccines during 2009.

In the past, sales of pediatric vaccines have grown at a faster rate than adult vaccines. Although this is still true in European markets, adult vaccine sales are on the rise and by 2014 will account for 44.8% of sales as compared to 42.8% in 2010. Adult vaccines are expected to continue to increase at a steady rate over the forecast period, at 11.9% compared to 9.6% for pediatric vaccines.

The $7.9 billion European vaccine market is dominated by sales from five main countries: Germany, France, United Kingdom, Italy, and Spain. Germany is the leading generator of sales with 2010 sales of vaccines estimated to reach $2.7 billion. Growth is highly attributable to an aging population and vaccinations for diseases that significant affect these populations including influenza. France and the U.K. represent similar percentages of market share. Aging populations are also a contributing factor to growth in these regions with some additional revenue generated from expanded vaccine guidelines for children in some areas.

The rest of Europe is a combination of slower, but steady markets to intense double-digit growing regions. Poland, Russia, Croatia, and other Central and Eastern European regions have all shown rapid adoption of vaccination programs that have contributed to the 23.2% growth generated in the rest of Europe segment.

The European vaccines market is dominated by five major competitors: GSK, Sanofi Pasteur MSD, Novartis, Sanofi Pasteur, and Crucell. Together, they hold a combined market share worth 82% of the market.

Bruce Carlson ([email protected]) is publisher at Kalorama Information. 

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