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Henry Newkirk Explains the Three Major Pharmaceutical Markets

Recent months have seen an intensified interest in the pharmaceutical industry likely due to the recent rise of the COVID-19 pandemic. While many other sectors have struggled this year, pharmaceutical employers have expanded their horizons in order to meet increased demand for production, development, and research. Not shockingly, these shifts have reinvigorated interest in the field, revealing it as an extremely promising career path for driven individuals who are invested in improving the life quality of others.

The industry consists of a large range of multinational companies which research, develop, manufacture, market, and distribute medical products that provide health solutions for both animals and humans. Many alternative herbal products, cosmetic products, and medical devices are also developed and distributed within the industry. In a nutshell, professionals working within the pharmaceuticals industry seek to make cutting-edge products readily available to those who need them most. The products’ broad purposes generally aim to treat conditions, prevent illness, improve overall health, or enhance patient care.

More than 15 years ago, a passion for bettering patient care and improving the life quality of others is exactly what drove Henry “Hank” Newkirk to pursue a career in the pharmaceutical industry. Over the years, he’s worked with a wide range of pharmaceutical companies to bring life-changing solutions to his clients’ patients. Now, with a broad range of experience under his belt, Newkirk serves as one of Shire’s executive sales specialists in Valparaiso, Indiana. Newkirk shares an outline of the industry’s three major markets, which include core pharmaceutical products, vaccines, and consumer products.

Core Pharmaceutical Products

One of the largest and most commonly thought-of markets in the pharmaceutical industry consists of core pharmaceutical products. As described by Henry Newkirk, this sector includes therapeutic medicines which seek to treat, remedy, or cure disorders and diseases. By far, the majority of revenues in this market are brought in by branded, patented medicines, although generic medications are also produced as well.

Of the disorders and diseases that core pharmaceutical products address, cancer accounts for a significant share. For example, products pertaining to cancer treatment account for the largest percentage of revenue, ranking cancer treatments as one of the top-selling categories of pharmaceuticals in the world. Core pharmaceutical products also include medicines that treat heart disease, which is responsible for an astounding one third of global deaths.

While cancer and heart disease treatments do account for a large portion of products within this category, Henry Newkirk highlights that it is, in fact, an extremely broad sector which also includes products intended to treat, cure, or mitigate the symptoms of many other conditions. Just a few of the many diseases and disorders treated by core pharmaceutical products include asthma, Alzheimer’s, tuberculosis, diabetes, Parkinson’s, seasonal flu, and a wide range of other conditions. Of the three major pharmaceutical markets, the products within this category are often the most directly concerned with patient comfort and life quality.


Vaccinations have understandably received more attention and interest since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year. While the term itself currently holds a strong association to coronavirus, this area of the pharmaceutical market represents a much broader scope.

According to Henry Newkirk, the pharmaceutical industry’s vaccination sector deals specifically with disease prevention and immunization. The purpose of the products within this market is to impede their users from contracting vaccine-preventable diseases. Examples of products that are researched, developed, manufactured, and distributed in this realm may focus on preventing measles, whooping cough, polio, tetanus, pneumococcal disease, meningococcal disease, hepatitis B, mumps, the common flu, and many others.

While all areas of the pharmaceutical industry are heavily invested in research, the vaccination sector has an especially heavy reliance on it, says Henry Newkirk. In most cases, developing an effective vaccine requires a complex process of investigation and development. Sometimes, the full process can require as much as two full decades of research and trials.

Pre-discovery itself generally lasts between two to four years. Afterwards, pre-clinical and clinical trials may require between five and 15 years depending on scope, complexity, and timeline. After completing these stages and achieving regulatory approvals, the vaccine may then move forward into manufacturing.

For those who are curious about pursuing a career in this sector of the pharmaceutical market, it’s worth noting that the top-performing companies currently working in the field include Pfizer, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co, Moderna, Novavax, Sanofi, and BioNTech. Interestingly, each of these pharmaceutical giants currently have ongoing initiatives which are actively seeking to develop and manufacture an effective COVID-19 vaccine.

Henry Newkirk on Consumer Products

When most hear the term “pharmaceutical” they likely think exclusively of products which fall into the aforementioned categories (core pharmaceutical products and vaccines). However, Henry Newkirk highlights that there is a third category which is lesser-known among laymen as a prominent sector of the pharmaceutical industry: consumer products.

Consumer products cover a broad range of products that may not be traditionally thought of as pharmaceutical in nature. Herbal supplements, cosmetics, toothpaste, ovulation testers, multivitamins, eye drops, some feminine hygiene products, and mouthwash are all examples of products which may fall within this realm. Over-the-counter medicines such as decongestants, antihistamines, nasal sprays, some allergy medications, digestion aids, and mild painkillers also qualify as pharmaceutical consumer products.

In many cases, products within this market have product descriptions that make either medicinal or therapeutic claims that are specific in nature. Thus, they are researched, developed, and manufactured as pharmaceuticals rather than standard consumer products.

This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes

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