Pain-drug market to stagnate on generic erosion, report says

Back problems and arthritis account for the biggest pain-treatment sales--and that's not going to change anytime soon. According to a report from Decision Resources, treatments for chronic back and arthritis pain will continue to lead the way in the pain-management category, which amounts to a $20 billion market these days.

The 7 leading pharma markets have aging populations, which means that back and arthritis pain are increasingly prevalent. Despite the growth in the number of potential patients for pain treatments, the size of the market isn't expected to change; it will still total about $20 billion by 2020. That's because generic competition will eat away at branded drug sales, and new pain relievers aren't very revolutionary, the report notes.

Among the key pain drugs that will face generic rivals before 2020 are Purdue Pharma's OxyContin, Pfizer's ($PFE) Lyrica and Celebrex, and Eli Lilly's ($LLY) Cymbalta. New therapies are reformulations of existing meds, the report states, and so they're likely to only make up about 18% of the total chronic pain market by the end of the decade.

- read the PharmaTimes piece