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Rising patient numbers and novel products are set to drive growth in the Chinese antidiabetics market

25 Mar 2011, by Informa Insights

Melbourne, March 23, 2011 – Driven by the growing diabetic population and the improved healthcare insurance coverage implemented as part of the country’s 2009 healthcare reform, the value of the overall diabetes drugs market in China will triple from $0.7bn in 2009 to $2.1bn in 2019, according to a new report from independent market analyst, Datamonitor*.

One of the key drivers for antidiabetic drug sales in China is the country’s large diabetic population. According to the 2010 Chinese National Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders Study, the prevalence rate of diabetes in China has reached 9.7%, making China the country with the largest diabetic population in the world.

Yifu Liu, a Datamonitor healthcare analyst and author of the report, says: “A number of interlinked factors, including the aging population, urbanization, dietary changes, and decreasing levels of physical activity, will contribute to making this already large population grow further. This is already demonstrated by the higher prevalence rate of impaired glucose tolerance patients compared to other countries noted in the same study, the majority of which are expected to develop diabetes in the near future.”

In contrast, the gap between the number of patients and their access to diabetes therapy remains alarmingly large. Yifu comments: “The low level of public awareness of diabetes, the lack of educated healthcare workers and primary care institutes, especially in rural areas, and the lack of access to effective early diagnosis tools all contribute to the very high number of undiagnosed patients in China.”

The increasing diabetic population in China also translates into significant opportunities for both foreign and domestic pharmaceutical companies. Yifu states: “Growth in the insulin market will come from the continued uptake of fast- and long-acting products, particularly for insulin analogs. Their impacts became noticeable from 2010 onward, as they were listed on the National Reimbursement Drug List. Datamonitor also expects insulin analogs to be popular due to their ease of use and reduced number of daily injections.”

Yifu concludes: “The dynamics of the non-insulin market will change significantly in the next 10 years with the introduction of many novel products into the Chinese market, including glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists and the dipeptidyl peptidase-IV (DPP-IV) inhibitors. Their performance in terms of glucose control and benign safety profiles will help manufacturers to recreate the successes that these drugs have had in the other major markets. Safety, including long-term cardiovascular outcomes, will be the most important factor contributing to the success of new products in the future.”

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