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By: M-Washman
Product launches also roiled individual markets in 2005. Sales of Zoloft (sertraline, Pfizer), for example, were hurt by the launch of Cymbalta (duloxetine, Lilly) as well as the generic availability of citalopram (Celexa, Forest).

Zocor (simvastatin, Merck) was hit hard by new nonstatin products in the anticholesterol market, including Zetia (ezetimibe, Merck/Schering-Plough) and combination products Caduet (amlodipine/atorvastatin, Pfizer) and Vytorin (ezetimibe/simvastatin, Merck/Schering-Plough). Rosuvastatin is also pulling prescriptions from simvastatin, as is generic lovastatin.

"These new categories, especially the combo drugs, are having a big impact on the market," Hauben said. "They have grown the overall market as well as taken some market share from existing drugs."

Most of the top categories showed healthy growth in 2005 by total Rxs as well as retail dollars. The two exceptions were oral contraceptives, which were essentially flat, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which fell 4.1% by total Rxs and 13.9% by Rx dollars.

"The SSRI drop was driven by two factors," Hauben said. "The introduction of Cymbalta in 2004 pulled prescriptions from the SSRI class in 2005. And the introduction of generic Celexa caused the huge decline in SSRI dollars. There were some product shifts, but, overall, the market stayed pretty consistent across the year."

"On the whole, Mobic came out the big winner due to the COX-2 issue," Hauben said. "Bextra and Vioxx are officially removed from the market, and Celebrex has been on a decline. The bad press surrounding COX-2s has had a major impact on Rx sales."

Because COX-2s were prescribed primarily for chronic arthritis pain, the biggest impact was on the refill sector of the market. Bad news for COX-2s was good news for meloxicam, but not good enough to make up millions of refill scripts. The likely gainers were over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin and ibuprofen, Hauben said. "We think patients are less likely to take the stronger arthritis drugs after the bad publicity," he explained. "But VONA tracks Rx sales, not OTCs, so it is tough for us to identify that for sure through our data set."

The ED market remains a solid growth category. Levitra (vardenafil, Bayer) showed moderate growth at 2.8%, while Generic Viagra (sildenafil, Pfizer) fell 17.4%. Cialis (tadalafil, Lilly/ICOS) was the big winner with 59.3% growth. Overall, Hauben said, vardenafil held steady while sildenafil's market share fell from 74.4% to 64.5%. Tadalafil picked up almost all of sildenafil's loss, growing its market share from 13.6% to 22.7%.

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