Plant-Derived Drugs: Products, Technology, Applications

Published - Feb 2003| Analyst - Andrew McWilliams| Code - BIO022C
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Report Highlights

  • Total worldwide sales of plant-derived drugs in 2002 are estimated at $13.7 billion.
  • Sales are projected to increase at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 6.4% through 2007.
  • The U.S. accounts for 50% of the global plant-derived drug market.
  • The U.S. market will grow faster than foreign markets as a whole, at an AAGR of 7.5% per year vs. 5.3%.


As late as the 1930s, approximately 90% of the medicines prescribed or sold overthe- counter were still of herbal origin. Today, an estimated one-quarter of the prescription drugs sold in the United States, Canada and Europe contain active ingredients derived from plants. Even so, global over-the-counter sales of plant-derived drugs are estimated at $40 billion per year, and there is an ongoing revival of interest in plant-derived drugs.

Nobody knows exactly how many plants are used medicinally worldwide, but only an estimated 5% to 15% of the approximately 250,000 higher plants have been investigated for bioactive compounds. Currently, pharmaceutical companies and researchers are looking for new plant-derived drugs, spending millions on screening various plants for active constituents. They also are developing new uses for known herbal remedies and conducting experiments with blends of different herbals.

Nearly five years have passed since BCC published its landmark study of “Plant-Derived Drugs: Products, Technologies and Applications.” This updated version focuses on the global market for plant-derived drugs in light of the most recent available information. In addition to looking at future and current markets for a wide variety of new, reformulated and established products, the study analyzes technological, environmental, legal/regulatory and socioeconomic developments that may influence the market for plant-derived drugs. It, therefore, will be invaluable to presidents, and strategic planners and marketers in all companies comprising the pharmaceutical industry.


This BCC study:

  • Provides an analysis of the industry and markets by region, technology, category of drug and medical application
  • Analyzes the current and future volume and value of classified plant-derived drugs through 2007
  • Evaluates market drivers, as well as technological, environmental, legal/regulatory and socioeconomic factors
  • Forecasts the market for plant-derived drugs in the clinical testing or approval stages
  • Identifies leading manufacturers along with the firms that may become important players.


The author of this report, Andrew McWilliams, is a partner in the Boston-based international technology and marketing consulting firm of 43rd Parallel LLC. He has over 25 years experience in international market assessments and strategy consulting for clients in the technology sector, including biotechnology.

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