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East German doctors prescribe significantly more high-priced biopharmaceutical medication than West German doctors

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Figure 1 East-West-comparison: The prescription behavior of biopharmaceuticals shows large discrepancies between Eastern and Western Germany. Source: NOVUMED® analysis.
Figure 1 East-West-comparison: The prescription behavior of biopharmaceuticals shows large discrepancies between Eastern and Western Germany. Source: NOVUMED® analysis.
2014-02-18 15:44:02 - 127 % higher revenues of pharmaceutical companies per physician and year in Eastern Germany. Doctors in the east with traditionally lower price sensitivity. Differentiation of different products is hardly used.

Over 20 years after the reunification there are big differences in the prescription habits of high priced biopharmaceutical medication (biologics) in East and West Germany. Pharmaceutical companies averagely earn more than twice the amount in the east, per physician and year, than in the west with certain biologics. What are the reasons for this and what are implications for pharmaceutical firms and cost drivers?
NOVUMED® analyzed the distribution capabilities in the German pharmaceutical market by using two case studies in cooperation with a leading data provider. The results will be published within the framework of the publication series NOVUMED® SPOTLIGHT.

A success story: inflammation inhibiting biopharmaceuticals

Biopharmaceuticals for the treatment of inflammatory diseases look back upon a perennial success story. For example

the medication Humira, from the US-firm Abbott (Abbvie) with global revenues of 9.3 billion $US (2012), is leading the list of Blockbuster medication by far. Currently, 8 significant biopharmaceuticals for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and/or chronic inflammatory bowel disease are licensed in Germany. Together, these drugs show a total revenue of 25.5 billion $US (2012) and an annual growth rate of 12 %.
Due to the high cost of biologics (at CED ca. factor 10 over the standard therapy) the prognoses for market development in the coming years shows significantly lower growth rates.

Eastern Germany is the most attractive sales region for biopharmaceuticals

Especially against this background it is appellative that, in Eastern Germany, certain biologics achieve 127% higher revenues per physician and year than in the west (Fig. 1). Doctors in Eastern German prescribe these medications more often and in higher amounts. The NOVUMED® analysis shows that this mainly results from the historically/culturally lower price sensitivity of doctors in Eastern Germany. The questioned physicians also mainly trust the established products on the market and distinguishing features of newer anti-inflammatory biologics are perceived very little.
In an environment of increasing cost pressure on the health system and cumulative challenging framework requirements for the pharmaceutical industry, a detailed understanding of the market is curtail for an efficient distribution.


NOVUMED® LIFE SCIENCE CONSULTING & ADVISORY is an independent Strategy Consulting and Advisory Company for the Life Science Industry. With offices in the US and Europe, NOVUMED® is one of the few consulting firms with clear industrial focus. The experienced team of Management Advisors and Advisory Consultants supports Life Science companies, associated industrial groups and investors with the creation and implementation of market strategies, sales optimization and strategic financial transactions.

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