Next-generation drugs for Type 2 diabetes to boost European market, finds study

Biggest challenge to UK diabetes care is reform of commissioning structures, says Frost & Sullivan

More than 55 million people were diagnosed with diabetes in Europe in 2012, and this number is expected to rise to 64 million by 2030, according to the International Diabetes Federation.

A recent study by Frost & Sullivan, Global Type 2 Diabetes Therapeutics Market, which covers the European region in detail, reveals that Europe earned revenues of €9.50bn in 2009 and this figure is estimated to rise by a CAGR of nearly 4% to €15.46bn by 2017.

Due to the chronic nature of the disease and the numerous co-morbidities that make patients particularly sensitive to long-term drug safety, the clinical and regulatory hurdles are considerable. But Frost & Sullivan says the immense size of the potential market has stimulated a vast and growing pipeline of potential new therapies aimed at addressing the unmet needs of tighter glucose control, improved safety profiles, and greater convenience to patients.

Overall, the growth rate of the insulin segment was estimated to be about 52% of the total European type 2 diabetes therapeutics market in 2012, exceeding that of the non-insulin segment.

According to Aiswariya Chidambaram, Healthcare Senior Research Analyst at Frost & Sullivan, the insulin segment of this market has been boosted by improvements in modern insulins, including better pharmacokinetic profiles and reduced risk of hypoglycaemia, which is a major drawback to insulin therapy.

Chidambaram also says several insulin analogues in development have the potential to offer better overall outcomes resulting from their liver-targeted action.

The immense size of the potential market has stimulated a vast and growing pipeline of potential new therapies

The study says the biggest challenge to UK diabetes care is the reform of commissioning structures, combined with €40.61bn efficiency savings, which have resulted in reductions in specialist treatment. In Germany, on the other hand, the need for a consistent national diabetes plan remains the key area of focus. The growth of the market is expected to depend on testing volumes, which are in turn expected to drive growth for diabetes diagnostics and therapeutics. A few new product launches are expected in the next two years, leading to further market expansion.

Health authorities in France are tackling diabetes in the broader framework of combating chronic disease and promoting improved nutrition, both of which are included in the national framework plans. In addition, diabetes patients benefit from full reimbursement of all treatments and supplies.

The Italian Drugs Agency has introduced potentially innovative drugs with monitoring projects that seek to define the future role of new medicine in clinical practice. Focus on integrated diabetes management and care is likely to bring multiple diabetes services under one roof. The key issues faced by the diabetes associations in Italy include long waiting lists, lack of specialised personnel, and adequate medical equipment.

In Spain the prevalence of gestational diabetes was at 8.8% in 2011, but the country has started to introduce telemedicine at hospitals for diabetes care, which is likely to provide faster and improved access to diabetes care.

In northern Europe, the Ministry of Health of the Netherlands is tackling key issues such as prevention care, understanding the impact of the bundled payment approach on healthcare and multi-morbidity.

In Norway, according to the National Diabetes Association, the greatest challenges over the next two years will include the roll out and financing of the National Strategy for Diabetes as well as the establishment of diabetes registers with cent per cent coverage.

Anticipated challenges over the next two years in Sweden include implementation of patient-focused diabetes care, research and education, while Finland is regarded as the first country in the world to have introduced a comprehensive diabetes programme with annual and biennial check-ups provided to patients.

'All in all, research advances in novel pathways, such as the neuroendocrine system, will produce next-generation antidiabetic drugs with improved efficacy and safety profiles, creating opportunities for successful market penetration with enhanced and more effective formulations,' concludes Chidambaram.

'The recent discovery of how metformin works, in addition to accumulating evidence of off-target beneficial effects including cardioprotection, will lead to an improvement in drug tolerability and the discovery of novel therapies based on the glucagon-targeted mechanism. These efforts will generate affordable, highly effective therapies with enhanced long-term safety and efficacy and better clinical outcomes.'

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