Significant Opportunity Remains in the Unipolar Depression Market Due to the High Prevalence of Depressive Disorders as Well as Low Patient Response Rate to First-Line Antidepressants

Significant Opportunity Remains in the Unipolar Depression Market Due to the High Prevalence of Depressive Disorders as Well as Low Patient Response Rate to First-Line Antidepressants

Decision Resources

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Decision Resources, one of the world’s leading research and advisory firms for pharmaceutical and healthcare issues, finds that significant opportunity remains in the unipolar depression market owing to both the high prevalence of depressive disorders in the world’s major pharmaceutical markets as well as low patient response rate, as more than one-third of depression patients do not respond to first-line antidepressants.

“Agents that offer faster and more sustained effect than currently available agents or that demonstrate efficacy for treatment-resistant depression would be differentiated in the unipolar depression market,” said Decision Resources Analyst Alana Simorellis, Ph.D. “However, the growing number of generic products will make it increasingly difficult for marketers to gain blockbuster status for branded emerging therapies.”

The Pharmacor advisory service entitled also finds that aripiprazole (Bristol-Myers Squibb/Otsuka Pharmaceutical’s Abilify) and quetiapine extended release (AstraZeneca’s Seroquel XR/Seroquel XL/Seroquel Prolong, generics) continue to modestly increase their patient share as adjunctive treatments for major depressive disorder, and these two agents will contribute to the stability of the unipolar depression market in the near term. Through 2015, sales of the atypical antipsychotic drug class for the treatment of unipolar depression will reach more than $2.5 billion in the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and Japan; increasing generic competition within this drug class in the latter half of the forecast period will offset continued growth in patient share.

Emerging antidepressants will enter a crowded and highly genericized market. In particular, because there is a lack of clinical differentiation among currently marketed selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and given the stronghold that these current classes hold in terms of price, generic options and physician comfort, emerging antidepressants will not likely be first-line agents. Marketers of emerging agents, such as Lundbeck/Takeda’s vortioxetine (formerly Lu-AA21004) and Forest Laboratories/Pierre Fabre’s levomilnacipran, will position their therapies as options for patients who have not responded to first-line antidepressants, or in those patients who have residual symptoms of depression, such as fatigue.

The unipolar depression market will decrease from $12.3 billion in 2011 to just under $10 billion in 2021, mainly as a result of generic erosion of key agents, particularly in the United States.

Generic erosion of key blockbuster products, specifically, escitalopram (Lundbeck/Recordati/Almirall’s Cipralex/Seroplex/Entact/Esertia, Forest Laboratories/Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma/Mochida’s Lexapro, generics), olanzapine (Eli Lilly’s Zyprexa, generics), duloxetine (Eli Lilly/Shionogi’s Cymbalta/Xeristar) and aripiprazole will account for the majority of decline seen in the unipolar depression market between 2011 and 2021.

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