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10 Most Profitable Drugs

Photographer: Jsnover I Agency: Dreamstime.com

With all the lustful TV commercials, you might think it's the drugs for erectile dysfunction that make the hearts of drug company execs go pitter-patter. But it's medications that treat heart disease and high blood pressure that most excite them. The following were the top 10 best-selling prescription drugs in 2005.

 

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­An antidepressant, Effexor had $3.8 billion in sales in 2005 and an annual growth rate of 1.2 percent.

 

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A popular drug that treats heartburn, Prevacid had global sales of $4 billion in 2005 and an annual growth rate of 0.9 percent.

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This is the world's most commonly prescribed atypical antipsychotic medication. At $4 billion, its sales were lower than Zyprexa's, but it had a much larger annual growth rate at 12.6 percent.

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Used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, Zyprexa is Eli Lilly's top-selling drug. In 2005, it had global sales of $4.7 billion. However, unlike other drugs on the list, Zyprexa experienced a significant decrease in annual growth -- a dismal 26.8 percent.

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The second biggest seller for manufacturer Pfizer, Norvasc is used to treat high blood pressure. It had global sales of $5 billion in 2005 and an annual growth rate of 2.5 percent.

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This is another medication used to treat high cholesterol and prevent heart disease. In 2005, Zocor had global sales of $5.3 billion, and its annual growth wasn't shabby either, at 10.7 percent.

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Although it's ranked No. 4, this asthma inhaler is in the No. 1 spot when it comes to annual growth. GlaxoSmithKline must have been breathless with its 19 percent annual growth rate. Sales for Seretide/Advair were just slightly lower than those for Nexium, coming in at $5.6 billion.

 

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You probably know this drug as "the purple pill," and its sales numbers certainly merit the royal hue. Nexium, prescribed for heartburn and acid reflux, had sales of $5.7 billion, with an annual growth of 16.7 percent.

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This medication is used to prevent heart attacks and strokes. Although it has risen to the second spot on the list, its sales were a mere $5.9 billion, less than half those of Lipitor. However, Plavix had 2.5 times the annual growth of Lipitor.

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Associated Press/Mel Evans

Consistently ranking No. 1, Lipitor holds the title by a wide margin. Its annual sales of $12.9 billion were more than twice those of the next drug on the list. Lipitor treats high cholesterol, which is a major risk factor for heart disease.

To learn more, see How Lipitor Works or check out the 10 Weirdest Prescription Drug Side Effects.

 

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS:

Helen Davies, Marjorie Dorfman, Mary Fons, Deborah Hawkins, Martin Hintz, Linnea Lundgren, David Priess, Julia Clark Robinson, Paul Seaburn, Heidi Stevens, and Steve Theunissen

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