Opioids are considered as some of the most effective drugs for management of pain. Moreover, their use in the management of severe pain and chronic pain, which are associated with advanced medical illness, is considered to be standard practice in most parts of the world. Due to increase in the incidence of medical ailments, the market studied is expected to grow over the forecast period.
The rising occurrence of orthopedic disorders, such as arthritis, elbow pain, fibromyalgia, and osteoporosis, and the associated chronic pain, is the primary factor responsible for the growth of the opioids market. Opioids play a vital role in acute post-operative settings to provide adequate analgesia. As per the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, over 30 million patients are affected by osteoarthritis each year in the United States. There is an increasing rate of osteoarthritis in the United Kingdom as well.
According to the Arthritis UK in 2016, approximately one in five adults over 45 years in England had osteoarthritis in knee and one in nine adults had osteoarthritis in hip, which amount to around 8.5 million people suffering from the disease. In addition, the International Osteoporosis Foundation states that osteoporosis is considered as one of the most serious public health concerns among women, affecting more than 30% of the population each year in the United States and Europe and leading to multiple fractures. Therefore, opioid therapy is the mainstay of orthopedic treatment of patients with moderate to severe pain, and this helps to drives the overall growth of the market.
Key Market Trends
Strong Agonists are Expected to Hold the Largest Market Share in the Receptor Binding Segment
In the receptor binding segment of the opioids market, the strong agonist category is expected to have a large market size. An agonist is a drug that triggers certain receptors in the brain. Methadone (strong) agonist therapy is found to be an effective treatment for addiction to opioid drugs (such as heroin). Strong agonist opioids activate opioid receptors, and after binding tightly, undergo significant conformational changes. Strong agonists include codeine, fentanyl, heroin, hydrocodone, methadone, morphine, and oxycodone. There are many adults that experience pain in their daily lives. Hence, the market is expected to witness steady growth over the forecast period.
North America Dominates the Market and is Expected to Continue to Dominate in the Forecast Period
North America currently dominates the market for opioids and is expected to continue its strong hold for a few more years. Codeine and morphine are the most commonly prescribed opioids for cancer patients to relieve pain. However, illegal use of fentanyl to relieve pain is rising across the United States. Recently, in 2018, despite the escalating trade war between the United States and China, medical and law enforcement officials and politicians tried to stop illegally mailed fentanyl from China to the United States.
Some of the major companies in the United States market include Teva, Janssen, Insys, and Mylan. However, some of these companies have been involved in legal actions instituted against them for persuading doctors to influence sales of opioids to boost the market. In the past two years, initiatives and campaigns have been initiated under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Federal government to fight the opioid epidemic. Due to these actions, growth of the studied market is expected to steadily slow down over the forecast period.
The opioids market consists of several players. In terms of market share, few of the players currently dominate the market. However, with the rising usage of the opioids in medicines, more companies are trying to enter this market, especially in the emerging markets. However, strict laws and stringent regulatory policies are deterring market penetration by small- and mid-sized companies. Allergan, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Mallinckrodt and Amneal Pharmaceuticals Inc. holds a substantial market share of the opioids market.
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