By drug class, opioids are widely used analgesic drugs for treating moderate-to-severe pain such as pain caused by surgery, cancer, trauma, injury and other diseases.
Due to their high efficiency and widespread availability in the developed markets of North America and Western Europe, opioids are a high-revenue generating segment in the global analgesics market.
In a new research publication, leading market research firm Future Market Insights presents forecasts on revenue generated from the sales of branded and generic analgesic drugs, including opioids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), acetaminophen and local anaesthetics.
According to Future Market Insights’ projections, the global prescription analgesics market is anticipated to reach $79bn by the end of 2028, up from an estimated $47.5bn in 2018. This is indicative of a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.3% during the ten-year period from 2018 to 2028. This growth is mainly contributed by the regional markets in North America and Western Europe that are projected to collectively hold a revenue share of just under 71% in 2018.
Following the US opioid crisis, several countries worldwide are introducing regulations pertaining to the prescription of opioids.
To curb the growing abuse of painkilling drugs, pharmaceutical companies are introducing different types of abuse-deterrent drugs in the global market. Opioids are widely used for pain management in North America and Europe and are also being increasingly used for non-medical purposes.
Government organisations in these economies are encouraging doctors to prescribe non-opioid analgesics, which is expected to create significant growth opportunities for companies to introduce novel non-opioid drugs in these markets.
The situation in the countries of Asia and Africa is different. The limited availability of both opioid and non-opioid drug delivery systems for pain management provides immense opportunities to manufacturers of analgesics for regional market penetration.
Opioid intolerance is a new phenomenon that has hit the pharmaceuticals industry in North America and Europe. Opioids are ineffective in treating certain cases of severe pain, necessitating patients to take higher doses to alleviate the pain. This eventually makes them opioid intolerant or addicted to these drugs. Commercialising opioid tolerant drugs is one of the most viable solutions that will help reduce the side effects associated with increasing consumption of opioids.
Manufacturers in the global analgesics market are expected to benefit from the numerous opportunities presented by the commercialisation of opioid tolerant drugs.
Key players in the global analgesics market are focused on research and development (R&D) initiatives to develop non-opioid drugs using innovative drug delivery approaches to facilitate extended-release of the medication, which can provide pain relief for a longer time duration.
Pharmaceutical companies are also launching cost-efficient opioid drugs in Asian countries and this is expected to boost revenue growth in the global market for analgesics.
Commercial expansion of products across potential growth markets in Asia and Africa is a feasible strategy being adopted by manufacturers of analgesics to expand their global market footprint.
Opioids are largely used in palliative care for treating terminally ill patients. There is a growing focus on palliative care services across third world countries. Coupled with readily available reimbursement options, this is expected to boost the consumption of opioids in the coming decade.
Several government initiatives to promote palliative care among patients suffering from cancer pain in low and middle-income countries are promoting the adoption of opioids as an effective pain management solution.
Another trend being observed in the global market is the use of opioids maintenance treatment (OMT) to treat opioids dependence (OD). The main objective of OMT is to reduce patients’ addiction to consume illicit drugs that are used to reduce opioid dependency.
While there are certain controversies associated with the commercialisation of OMT (it is claimed that OMT is another form of addiction), these drugs are highly regulated and the concerned governments are implementing stringent regulations to prevent abuse of these drugs.