A blockbuster drug is a drug generating more than $1 billion of revenue for its owner each year. The search for blockbusters has been the foundation of the R&D strategy adopted by big pharmaceutical companies, but this looks set to change. New advances in genomics, and the promise of personalized medicine, are likely to fragment the pharmaceutical market.
A recent report from Urch Publishing estimated that about one third of the pharma market by value is accounted for by blockbusters. About 100 products are blockbusters. The top seller was Lipitor a cholesterol-lowering medication marketed by Pfizer with sales of $12.2 billion.
Leading blockbuster drugs
- atorvastatin (Lipitor) from Pfizer
- clopidogrel (Plavix) from Bristol-Myers Squibb and sanofi-aventis (2005 sales $5.9bn)
- enoxaparin (Lovenox or Clexane) from sanofi-aventis
- celecoxib (Celebrex) from Pfizer
- omeprazole (Losec/Prilosec) from AstraZeneca (2003 sales $2.6bn)
- esomeprazole (Nexium) from AstraZeneca (2003 sales $3.3bn)
- Fexofenadine (Telfast/Allegra) from Aventis (2004 sales $1.87bn)
- quetiapine (Seroquel) from AstraZeneca (2003 sales $1.5bn)
- metoprolol (Seloken/Toprol) from AstraZeneca (2003 sales $1.3bn)
- budesonide (Pulmicort/Rhinocort) from AstraZeneca (2003 sales $1.3bn, plus some fraction of the $0.6bn sales of Symbicort)
Pharmaceutical Market Trends, 2006-2010, from Urch Publishing 
Blockbuster Drugs 2006: Executive Overview, from Report Buyer