Acid inhibitor leading drug into 2000, report says

Humanity will enter the next century with our sour stomachs intact. That’s the suggestion of a report by Datamonitor, which says the drug Prilosec will top the list of money-makers next year and will retain that slot until the year 2000, when its patent expires. The independent New York-based consulting firm predicts sales of Prilosec will near the $4 billion mark worldwide in the year 2000.

Thus, the new decade will begin in a similar fashion to the old: The early 1990s saw the H-2 acid inhibitor Zantac as the top-selling drug worldwide. (By 2000, the Datamonitor report predicts, Zantac will have slipped to 13th place in sales, hurt in part by generic competition.)

The list of top-selling drugs in the year 2000 says something about the state of humanity: We like to eat; we eat the wrong things; we get high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and stomachaches as a result; and then we have to treat them. Following Prilosec on the list are, in order, Zocor (simvastatin), Vasotec (enala-pril), Procardia XL (nifedipine) and Norvasc (amlodipine).

One telling Datamonitor statistic is the predicted strong showing in 2000 of Diflucan (fluconazole). As predicted by many clinicians, fungal infections may become the scourge of the next century. In fact, fluconazole beats out the only two antibiotics on the list: Biaxin (clarithromycin) at number 11 and Augmentin (amoxicillin/clavulanic acid) at number 14.

And here’s some proof that "next millennium depression" isn’t a pseudo-illness: Datamonitor predicts Prozac will pull in about a billion dollars in sales in the year 2000, to make it the 9th best-selling drug in the world.