The major factors augmenting the growth of the anti-fungal drugs market include increasing awareness about the myriad fungal infections, increasing the number of antifungal drugs available over-the-counter (OTC), and rising consumption of anti-fungal drugs in developing regions for a variety of medical conditions.
- With the rising popularity of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, many patients prefer OTC drugs over obtaining a prescription from a healthcare professional. Numerous common and harmless fungal infections are left untreated by patients, owing to medical costs and logistical constraints. These have directly contributed to the rise in the usage of OTC drugs, as these infections can be treated by OTC drugs, owing to their ease of availability.
- According to the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, more than 81% of adults use OTC medicines as their first response to minor ailments. The increased usage of OTC drugs has further contributed to the rise in anti-fungal drug sales over the years. In addition, the anti-fungal drugs market is expected to grow at a steady pace owing to the rising research and development activities. Considering all the factors, OTC drugs play a crucial role in driving the growth of the global anti-fungal drugs market.
Key Market Trends
The Azoles Segment is Expected to be Among the Major Contributors to the Market
Anti-fungal drug research is gaining momentum, owing to the development of new antifungal drugs using the azole group. Azoles are synthetic and semi-synthetic compounds, widely used for superficial and invasive fungal infections. The drugs are used to treat thrush, yeast infection, candidiasis, aspergillosis, tinea versicolor, athlete's foot, jock itch, ringworm, nail fungus, fungal infections, systemic mycosis, and seborrheic dermatitis. The azole anti-fungal group includes two classes, namely the triazoles (fluconazole, itraconazole, voriconazole, posaconazole, and isavuconazole) and the imidazoles (ketoconazole). Triazoles have a broad range of applications in the treatment of superficial and systemic fungal infections. The azoles are currently the most widely used and studied class of antifungal agents. The drugs are available in different formulations (oral tablet, oral capsule, cream, dandruff shampoo, sterile IV solution, lotion, vaginal cream, and tablet). Sales of both the established agents and newly launched anti-fungal agents are significant.
However, there are some issues reported earlier, such as an increased resistance is being observed among the Candida and Aspergillus species, particularly to azoles, which is believed to be driven by the use of azoles in agriculture. Increasing drug resistance is anticipated to provide an opportunity for other drug classes to capture the market.
North America is Expected to Account for the Largest Market Share
Fungal diseases in the United States have presented challenges to the healthcare authorities in the country. People across the world, including in the United States, have developed resistance to the available medicines. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), resistance to certain types of Candida (which happens to be the most common cause of healthcare-associated bloodstream infections in the United States) has been noticed. Approximately 7% of all the Candida bloodstream isolates tested at CDC are resistant to fluconazole. This observation has remained fairly constant over the last two decades. However, echinocandin resistance has been on the rise. In addition, the incidences of multi-drug resistance have increased in the country. Moreover, thirteen cases of Candida auris (which can cause invasive infections and is resistant to anti-fungal drugs) have been identified in the United States. The immunocompromised, aged population is on the rise in the United States. The increasing incidences of resistance and immunocompromised population have been a major concern for the government. This provides an opportunity for pharmaceutical players in the country to develop novel and more effective drugs for fungal diseases.
The market studied is fragmented, owing to the presence of a large number of small and big players. Some of the market players are Abbott Laboratories, Bayer AG, Astellas Pharma Inc., Glenmark, GlaxoSmithKline PLC, Kramer Laboratories, Merck & Co. Inc., Novartis AG, Pfizer Inc., and SCYNEXIS Inc.
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