Study predicts growth in migraine market

Pharmaceutical Representative

A new study, based on interviews with international headache experts and published by Waltham, MA-based Decision Resources Inc., predicts strong growth in the market for prescription drugs to treat migraines.

A new study, based on interviews with international headache experts and published by Waltham, MA-based Decision Resources Inc., predicts strong growth in the market for prescription drugs to treat migraines. The study covers the pathophysiological mechanisms that researchers believe are involved in migraine, as well as the clinical course of the disease, and provides epidemiological estimates of the total populat1ion of migraine sufferers in the seven major pharmaceutical markets (the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and Japan). The study also estimates the percentage of diagnosed and drug-treated patients in each market and assesses promising emerging therapies and investigational approaches to migraine that will impact the market through 2009.

An untapped market?

Despite the availability of numerous 5-HT agonists and over-the-counter analgesics, the study said the migraine market remains of interest in the pharmaceutical industry for the following reasons:


• The large patient population. Migraine prevalence exceeds 10% in most of the major markets, for a total of approximately 68.6 million prevalent cases in 1999.


•Â The frequency of migraine attacks. The study estimates that the total number of migraine episodes in 1999 exceeded 1.1 billion.


•Â The large, untapped undiagnosed population. Population-based studies of migraine sufferers in several countries consistently indicate that less than half have been diagnosed.


•Â The need for therapies that provide complete and sustained pain relief.


•Â The need for therapies that provide faster pain relief.


•Â The need for more effective, more tolerable prophylactic agents. None of the available prophylactic agents elicit a response in more than 50 to 60% of patients.


•Â The need for less expensive therapies. Available – and emerging – triptans are so similar in terms of safety and efficacy that pricing will be a major consideration in migraine sufferers' choice of agent. Cost will increasingly influence formulary inclusion and reimbursement status as well.

Prescription drugs to treat migraine generated approximately $1.9 billion in sales in 1999 in the seven markets under study. This number is expected to grow to $3.1 billion by 2009 as a result of increases in the diagnosed population of migraine sufferers and more widespread use of triptans. PR