Sales of diabetes drugs should keep growing at about 10 percent a year for the rest of the decade, reaching $65 billion a year by 2020, says Jeffrey Holford, an analyst with Jefferies & Co. At that pace, diabetes drug revenues should more than double from the current $30 billion by the decade’s end.
Holford says diabetes drug revenues should rise in relation to the aging population in the West, while in emerging markets, diabetes and obesity are increasing and access to health care is also growing. Other factors considered include higher drug prices, strong patent protection for key drugs, and new treatments.
Type 2 diabetes is a growing concern. UnitedHealth Group projects that half of Americans could have diabetes or pre-diabetes by 2020. And, the World Health Organization estimates that by 2030, more than 366 million people will be suffering from diabetes around the world – 10 times the number affected by HIV/AIDS.
Almost all people with diabetes rely on medication for the rest of their lives to keep their blood sugar levels in check. Unfortunately, drugs to treat the condition can have dangerous side effects.
In 2010, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) severely restricted the use of the type 2 diabetes drug Avandia after studies linked the medication to fatal heart attacks. In 2011, the FDA warned consumers that the type 2 diabetes medication Actos increased the risk for bladder cancer, especially in patients who used the drug long-term.