The Market in Diabetes

A. Hauber (an economist from Bear Stearns International) and E. Gale (a doctor at the University of Bristol in England) (showing an unusual collaboration between the world of finance and that of medicine and science) wrote in 2006 that, “There are two dimensions to each new treatment for diabetes. The first is the impact it will have upon glucose control, measured in terms such as clinical trial outcomes, risk vs benefit, patient satisfaction and cost. The other dimension, rarely considered in clinical journals, is that of the market place. Diabetes has been a major driver of the worldwide pharmaceutical market over the past 10 years, and this sector has grown at an annual rate of just below 20%, from US$3.8 billion in 1995 to US$17.8 billion in 2005. Growth in the diabetes market remained at a solid double-digit level even when growth of the world pharmacy market slowed from 11% in 2002 to 5% in 2005. Diabetes is common-and rapidly becoming more so-and current therapies are only partially effective in controlling glucose levels and preventing late complications. It is therefore expected to remain one of the most attractive growth areas in the global pharmaceutical market. This was not always the case, for 10 years ago the market in diabetes was limited to insulin, sulfonylureas and metformin, medications that were well established, largely generic and relatively inexpensive. In contrast, the past decade has seen the introduction of a wide range of new therapies that have varied in their clinical and commercial success but have invariably been more expensive than the previously available options.”

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