Big Pharma Sees 8% Boost in Prescription Sales | The Fix
facebook twitter RSS
HOT TOPICS: Alcoholism  Addiction  AA  Cocaine  Heroin

Big Pharma Sees 8% Boost in Prescription Sales

In 2010, OxyContin became a $3 billion business, and total Vicodin prescriptions rose to 130 million in the U.S. alone.


Top 50 firms = $593 billion
Photo via pharmexec

By Dirk Hanson


| Share

Gather round, drug aficiondos, for the 12th Annual Pharm Exec 50 from Pharmaceutical Executive Magazine. To nobody’s great surprise, Vicodin retains its title as the top U.S. pharma product in terms of total numbers of prescriptions. Physicians wrote more than 130 million prescriptions for the drug last year, up slightly from 2009. But for making a profit, Oxycontin beats Vicodin, no contest. Oxycontin sales were up a healthy 7% compared to calendar year 2009, becoming a $3 billion business for the first time. As a class, narcotic analgesics like Oxy accounted for a total of 244 million prescriptions, only a slight increase over the year-ago period. The biggest jump—about 15%—came from prescriptions for beta blockers. Tranquilizers like Valium were up a healthy 4.4%, however.

2010 was the year that the top drug company—Pfizer—broke the $50 billion mark in annual sales of prescription drugs. And the top 20 drug makers accounted for a staggering $483 billion in sales last year. Pfizer, the drug leader after its acquisition of Wyeth, had better celebrate while it can, as its ten billion dollar baby, the #1 selling Lipitor, goes off patent at the end of this year. Overall, according to PharmExec, the top 50 drug companies “accounted for $593.4 billion in human prescription sales in 2010. That represents an increase of nearly 8 percent from 2009, when the total was $550.5 billion.” So it seems safe to say that Big Pharma is weathering the economic storm of the past few years very well, thank you.

Rehabilitation Directories

Most Popular
Sober Living
An Audience with Gabor Maté

According to the rock star of addiction theory, every addict had a traumatic childhood whether they realize it or not.

The Rehab Review
Cliffside Malibu

The “beach-house-relaxed” Cliffside Malibu claims to provide an oasis for recovering addicts and alcoholics. And that’s just what you'll get—if you’ve got the cash.

Morningside Recovery

For a “rehab near the beach” experience that isn’t quite as costly as similar SoCal competitors, head to this Newport Beach treatment facility.

AToN Center

Whether you’re interested in the 12 Steps, SMART Recovery, or holistic treatments, this luxurious, appealing and commendable 4.5 star (our system doesn't yet show the 1/2 star) San Diego rehab has a program for you. 


This exclusive Northern California rehab is all about client choice—as well as golf outings, Buddhist field trips and keeping up with the office.

Capo By The Sea

Capo By The Sea offers an executive rehab program complete with medical detox and a focus on dual-diagnosis issues, as well as an outpatient option in an environment that exudes the kind of beach house optimism one would expect from an Orange County recovery outfit.

Journey Malibu

Want many of the luxury amenities A-listers have come to expect—including an enormous backyard with a pool and patio, an herb garden, a volleyball net and a spectacular vista of the Santa Monica mountains—with a recovery program to match?

The Ultimate Guide to Rehab

What you need to know when choosing an addiction treatment center.

the fix tv