Patent Expiries of Blockbuster Drugs: an Unending Headache for the Global Pain Management Therapeutics Market


Every living being experiences some kind of pain on some level in their lifetime. While it usually results from tissue damage due to some wound or injury, there are other factors, too, that lead to a variety of pain indications. The threshold of bearing pain is also different for every person. Based on the pattern of occurrence, the body parts it affects, and the duration of its occurrence, pain can be classified into a variety of forms.

Chronic pain, the type of pain that persists for more than 3 months, often even after the injury has healed, is one of the major health concerns across the globe these days. Signals of chronic pain often remain active in the nervous system for many weeks and even months. Chronic pain does not only induce physical effects, such as limited mobility, tense muscles, change in appetite, and loss of energy, but also emotional effects such as anxiety, anger, and depression. As a result, chronic pain hinders the ability of individuals to return to work or enjoy leisure activities and leads to a loss of productivity and many other debilitating effects on the patient’s socio-economic levels. The most common chronic pain complaints are arthritis pain, cancer pain, headache, lower back pain, psychogenic pain, and neurogenic pain.

The global pain management therapeutics market, a market that covers therapeutic classes such as anticonvulsants, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antidepressants, opioids, etc., aims at delivering drugs that ease pain and improve the quality of life of patients suffering from chronic pain.

Global Pain Management Therapeutics Market: Dynamics
The global market for pain management therapeutics had a valuation of US$40.93 billion in 2011. The demand for pain management drugs has always remained significantly high in the market due to the debilitating effects of chronic pain. Several pain management medicines such as analgesics, painkillers, and several pain management methods such as minimally invasive procedures, physiotherapy, etc., are easily available to patients.

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However, the market has significantly declined over the past few years, chiefly due to patent expiration of some of the blockbuster drugs in the market. Loss of exclusivity of the market’s bestselling drugs has led to a drastic reduction in the revenue generated in the global pain management therapeutics market.

On the brighter side, this also led to huge growth opportunities for many generic drug manufacturers. Nevertheless, there is a rising demand from consumers for novel drugs; the market’s inability to develop and market discoveries of novel medications is again expected to weaken its growth prospects in the near future.

Of the various therapeutic drugs for chronic pain available in the market, the market for NSAIDs held the largest share in the revenue generated in the global pain management therapeutics market in 2011. NSAIDs are highly popular owing to the presence of a large number of over-the-counter NSAIDs available in the market, including ibuprofen, diclofenac, and Aspirin. In terms of indication, the market earns its major share of revenue from the sale of drugs for neuropathic pain and cancer pain. The alarming rate at which cancer and diabetes cases are rising across the globe is the key factor behind the rising sales of drugs for cancer and neuropathic pain.

Geography-wise, the regional market of North America is the leading revenue generator in the global pain management therapeutics market. In 2011, this regional market had a net valuation of US$21,733.3 million.

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