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Slowdown seen in pharmaceuticals growth

The Swiss pharmaceutical industry grew by 5.3 per cent in 2008 due to a higher demand for vaccines and rheumatism treatments.

It is slightly less than the year-on-year 6.5 per cent growth in 2007, according to the pharmaceutical group Interpharma on Friday. Interpharma said a wave of price-cutting in March shaved SFr93 million ($80 million) from potential income.

The industry was valued at SFr4.74 billion in 2008 compared with SFr4.48 billion in 2007.

Vaccines and rheumatism treatments were the most dynamic areas of the industry, generating SFr60 million in sales and accounting for a quarter of total growth in the market.

Demand for medicine introduced in the past two years rose by 6.4 per cent while the market for products launched in 2006 slowed by 1.1 per cent.

Generic brands of medicines rose in popularity to take a 32 per cent stake of the market, while patented medicines lost 13 per cent. The move towards generic brands is expected to continue in 2009.

Interpharma also called for new medicines to become available more quickly in Switzerland. Switzerland lags behind other European countries in providing access to a range of innovative anti-cancer drugs through health insurers, the group said.

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