They account for 264 million prescriptions annually in the U.S. alone, and $35 billion in annual global sales. Now doctors say these drugs could help treat an entirely different ailment, which affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide. That means sales are about to skyrocket.
Drug maker Shire has announced it will buy ViroPharma for $4.2 billion. This comes on the heels of Amgen's $10.4 billion offer for Onyx Pharmaceuticals in August and Perrigo's acquisition of Elan Corp. in July for $8.6 billion. Those are just a few of the dozens of pharma deals this year that have enriched shareholders. The good news? This is only the beginning.
Overall, this sector has healthy global sales of $959 billion and is expected to grow those sales at a rate of 4.5% a year. But in emerging markets, sales in this sector will grow at three times that rate. And on top of that, another development will make these markets even more lucrative.
Among the top 10 causes of death by disease, Alzheimer's is the only one that cannot be cured, treated, or slowed down. But that may be about to change - and a vaccine could soon be at hand.