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Analysts See Chronic-Pain Drug Market Rebounding From Generic Erosion Over Next Decade

Anti-nerve growth factor therapies expected to garner significant sales (December 12)

Decision Resources, a research and advisory firm for pharmaceutical and health care issues, finds that the chronic-pain drug market will decrease from $21.4 billion in 2012 to $18.3 billion in 2017 but will recover to $21.6 billion by 2022 in the U.S., Europe, and Japan.

“The sales pattern in the total chronic pain market is attributable to the loss of market exclusivity for key chronic pain therapies, including controlled-release oxycodone (OxyContin, Purdue Pharma), over the next 5 years,” said analyst Natalie Taylor, PhD. “Market contraction in the first half of the forecast period will be followed by a growth in sales from 2017 through 2022, driven by the launches of a number of emerging therapies.”

The report also finds that the pipeline of therapies in clinical development for chronic pain conditions continues to be composed largely of reformulations of existing molecules. However, agents with novel mechanisms of action, such as subtype-selective sodium channel blockers and monoclonal antibodies against nerve growth factor (NGF), have made recent developmental advances.

Overcoming delays due to safety concerns, anti-NGF therapies, such as tanezumab (Eli Lilly/Pfizer) and fulranumab (Johnson & Johnson/Takeda), are forecast to garner significant sales from use in patients with severe, treatment-refractory osteoarthritis pain or chronic low back pain. This class will comprise 19% of major-market sales for chronic pain therapies by 2022.

The report also states that effective analgesics with a lower risk of tolerance and abuse remain a key area of unmet need in this market. Now that the FDA has established a regulatory path for abuse-deterrent, long-acting and extended-release opioids, several abuse-deterrent products from developers such as Pfizer, Teva, and Purdue are expected to launch in the U.S. over the next 5 years. In 2022, sales of abuse-deterrent opioid formulations attributed to chronic pain treatment are expected to exceed $1 billion across the multiple chronic pain indications covered in the report.

Source: Decision Resources; December 12, 2013.

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