Governments are under pressure to establish effective rehabilitation programs for drug addicts while pharmaceutical companies are being called upon to develop more effective drug treatments, as criminalization is failing to slow addiction figures, states a new report from healthcare experts GBI Research.
The new report* cites research conducted by the UK Drug Policy Commission that suggests that drug policy has little bearing on the country’s drug-using population, whose choices are being driven by more complex social factors.
Correspondingly, the US updated its drug policy in May 2012, following criticism that its “War on Drugs”, which began in the 1970s, was counter-productive to drug abstinence. Now, the US has more than 13,000 specialized drug treatment facilities, providing counseling, medication and other services to treat substance use disorders.
Focus is therefore moving away from criminalization and towards the effective treatment of drug addiction, which is providing pharmaceutical companies with opportunities for market entry. A common problem in the treatment of addiction is patient compliance, which pharmaceutical companies are aiming to tackle through novel methods of drug delivery, such as extended release formulations. Currently Vivitrol is the only such treatment approved for opiate addiction.
Opioid abuse medications account for around 60% of overall revenue in the substance abuse therapeutics market, as methadone, Suboxone and Vivitrol have a very high Annual Cost of Treatment (ACT). Cocaine abuse has no approved therapies, with off-label drugs and pain relief being used only to counter symptoms of withdrawal. Therefore, opportunity exists for a specific treatment to counteract cocaine dependence and offer better results than current off-label treatment options.
However, despite the opportunities available to pharmaceutical companies, a lack of innovative pipeline products may restrict market growth, as only three company-led molecules are currently in Phase III of development for drug abuse treatment, none of which boast first-in-class molecules.
According to the report, the expected rise of prescription drug use and drug abuse will lead to a small increase in the future patient population, but this will be lower than the overall population growth in the top five EU countries. National initiatives are likely to increase awareness of treatment availability, resulting in significantly increased treatment rates, raising overall revenue for the substance abuse therapeutics market. For example, the Obama drug strategy, which aims to integrate drug treatment into mainstream healthcare and increase awareness of drug use, is likely to raise the diagnosed population as more addicts seek help.
NOTES TO EDITORS
*Substance Abuse Therapeutics Market to 2018 - Effective Drug Therapies in the Treatment of Alcohol and Opioid Dependence Offer Significant Market Opportunities
The report provides insights into the substance abuse therapeutics market, including market forecasts up to 2018, and an in-depth analysis of the major substance abuse indications, which include nicotine addiction, alcohol dependence and opioid and cocaine abuse. It additionally gives insights into the substance abuse therapeutics R&D pipeline, and analyzes the competitive landscape through the analysis of M&A and licensing deals.
The report is built using data and information sourced from proprietary databases, primary and secondary research and in-house analysis by GBI Research’s team of industry experts.
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