Pain Therapy Drugs Market
As the pain therapy drugs market evolves over the next decade current market leaders will lose patent expiry and become subject to generic competition. What’s in the pipeline and which companies and products will prosper?
Pain affects around 1.5 billion people worldwide. In most cases, pain is temporary and easily treated with commonly available analgesics. For some people, however, pain is a debilitating, chronic condition. In Europe, an estimated 20% of the population suffers from chronic pain. As the population ages, the number of people with chronic pain is increasing, particularly from conditions such as osteoarthritis. Chronic pain is also associated with cancer. An estimated 30% of all cancer patients are in pain with the proportion more than doubling among people with late-stage cancer. In recent years, drug development in pain therapy has been focused mainly on reformulations of existing therapies and alternative modes of drug delivery in order to improve the safety and efficacy of existing drug groups.
While highly competitive, pain remains a sector of high unmet clinical need with excellent opportunities in niche markets
While the pain market is fragmented and highly competitive, it remains an area of high unmet need as current therapies are often less than effective and/or have undesirable side-effects. A number of new drugs are poised to take market share, with Palexia/Nucynta (tapentadol) widely tipped to be among the up and coming market leaders. As the market continues to evolve over the next decade, the current pain therapy drug market leaders will lose patent expiry and become subject to generic competition and consequent price erosion. It is generally agreed that sales of novel treatments are unlikely to entirely replace the revenue lost following patent expiry of the current top five. However, there will be opportunities in underserved niche market segments, particularly neuropathic pain, which typically fails to respond adequately to conventional analgesics.
Lessons in OTC switching
The pain sector is ideal for OTC switching and is a means of mitigating the effects of generic competition. A good example is Novartis’ former blockbuster, Voltaren (diclofenac), which was re-launched as an OTC product in 1999 and is now the company’s leading OTC brand. The prescription product still maintains relatively strong sales, however, due to long-term trust in the brand in markets in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. In 2010, sales of Voltaren (excluding OTC) amounted to US$791 million.
Tackling Opioid Abuse
Opioid abuse is a widely known problem, particularly in the US. Prescription drug abuse in the US is the country’s fastest growing drug abuse problem and has been directly correlated to a dramatic increase in the number of prescriptions filled for opioids. According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, between 1997 and 2007, the milligram-per-person use of prescription opioids in the US increased from 74mg to 369mg while the number of prescriptions for opioids dispensed by retail pharmacies rose from 174 million in 2000 to 257 million in 2009. In 2007, the number of deaths from unintentional overdose of opioids in the US was 11,499, compared with just 2,901 in 1999. Despite the potential for abuse, however, opioids remain important in the treatment of moderate to severe chronic pain and several companies such as Acura and Collegium are developing formulations aimed at deterring abuse.
To find out more about this report, and the quetions it can answer, please click on the link to the Evolution in the Pain Therapy Drugs Market: Nociceptive and Neuropathic Drug Development