With A Market Share Of 62%, Almirall Prodesfarma Retains Its Position As Leader In The Spanish Pharmaceutical Market

COMPANY PRESS RELEASE: Almirall Prodesfarma sales for 1998 in the domestic and international markets - through direct sales or outside licensing agreements - reached 84,000 million pesetas (504.8 million euros).

For another year running, the pharmaceutical firm Almirall Prodesfarma retained its position as the top seller in the Spanish pharmaceutical industry, with a market share of 6.2%.

Company sales reached 84,000 million pesetas (504.8 million euros), with business turnover in the domestic market accounting for 53,000 million pesetas (318.5 million euros). Sales of company products in the international market -through its own marketing efforts or through licensees- were 31,000 million pesetas (186.3 million euros). As a result, domestic sales grew 6% with respect to the previous year, with product sales in foreign markets increasing 35% despite the devaluation of the Japanese yen, which represents a major market for the company's product, ebastine. The firm expects 1999 sales figures for their products to exceed 87,500 million pesetas (525.8 million euros), with domestic sales around 54,500 million pesetas (327.5 million euros) and international sales around 33,000 million (198.3 million pesetas).

Almirall Prodesfarma is the leader in therapeutic groups related to the digestive and musculo-skeletal systems, with drugs such as Almax (almagate), Opiren (lansoprazole) and Airtal (aceclofenac), and has a significant market share in areas related to the cardiovascular, respiratory and central nervous systems.

In 1998 Almirall Prodesfarma targeted 5,500 million pesetas (33 million euros) for R&D. This ongoing emphasis on investment in R&D has meant that sales of products resulting from the company's own research efforts account for 60% of its turnover. Projected R&D investments in 1999 exceed 6,250 million pesetas (37.5 million euros), 13.6% more than in 1998. The company expects to spend more than 30,000 million pesetas (180.3 million euros) on this activity alone over the next five years.

Products resulting from Almirall Prodesfarma R&D include almagate (Almax) -designated a "noteworthy brand" by the Spanish Office of Patents and Marks in 1995-, currently the number one seller in the field of antacids in Spain, with a market share of 68%. Both cinitapride (Cidine) and piketoprofen (Calmatel) had a market share of 20.7% in their respective therapeutic areas (gastrointestinal and anti-inflammatory). Moreover, both ebastine (Ebastel) with a market share of 30.8% and aceclofenac (Airtal) with 15.1% are top-selling drugs in their therapeutic areas and are currently in the process of international expansion. Ebastine (Ebastel) has been marketed successfully in various European and Asian countries, among them Japan, as well as in Latin America. Aceclofenac (Airtal) is sold in Europe, Asia and Latin America. In addition, the company expects to market almotriptan -a new drug designed for migraine management- in Europe and the United States in the year 2000.

The company, with head offices in Barcelona, Spain, has a total staff of 1800, two R&D centres located in Barcelona and Sant Feliu de Llobregat and five production plants in Sant Andreu de la Barca, Sant Celoni, Sant Just Desvern and Manlleu. At present Almirall Prodesfarma produces almost 80 million units per year, with company products sold in more than 80 countries world-wide.