Depression Therapeutics Market: Views Sought On New Approach

Antidepressants are prescribed in serious to mild mental health conditions such as major depression and anxiety. Antidepressant drug category is highly lucrative due to low availability of alternative drug therapies for treatment of such disorders. Drug manufacturers are increasingly advancing the antidepressant drug category by introducing innovative therapies such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). Depression is one of the most common mental disorders, which are primarily treated by antidepressants. According to National Health Service Digital (NHS Digital), UK, antidepressant medication prescriptions observed the largest increase in 2016.

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Market Dynamics

The global depression therapeutics market is driven by factors such as absence of alternative therapies and high presence of generic drug manufacturers in the market. Increasing number of major drugs are losing patent protection due to which increasing number of generic manufacturers are developing product variations, this in turn is boosting the growth of the market. Proven effectiveness of these medications in improving medical outcomes and increasing prevalence of disorders such as depression are fueling growth of the market. However, life threatening side effects associated with these medications as indicated by the black box warning on the packaging, as well as lack of research and development by major players are expected to hinder growth of the depression therapeutics market.

Rising prevalence of mental disorders such as depression and anxiety is expected to boost the depression therapeutics market growth over the forecast period

Mental disorders such as major depressive disorder, anxiety, and associated co-morbidities have high global prevalence. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2017, around 300 million people are estimated to be affected with depression, globally. Furthermore, WHO passed a World Health Assembly resolution in 2013, to address mental disorders in a comprehensive and coordinated manner and has covered depression under its Mental Health Gap Action Program. According to Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA), major depressive disorder is the leading cause of disability in the U.S., among people aged between 15 years and 44.3 years, and affects around 6.7% of the U.S. population aged 18 years and above. Furthermore, according to a report published by Italian Medicines Agency, in 2013, the consumption of antidepressants rose by 4.5% in Italy between 2004 and 2012, which is attributed to rising prevalence of depression and high availability of generic medicines in the country. According to World Health Organization (WHO), in 2015, top five mental problems in the Asia Pacific region are depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), suicidal behavior, and substance abuse disorder. As the prevalence of mental disorders increases, the consumption of depression drugs is also expected to increase over the forecast period.

Low costs of antidepressant medication along with lack of affordable alternative therapies are expected to boost the global depression therapeutics market growth over the forecast period

Mental disorders such as depression and anxiety are treated either with medication or psychotherapy, which involves cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). According to American Psychiatric Association, 2017, although both the therapies exhibit similar levels of effectiveness with 30% to 40% remission rates, the cost-effectiveness of these therapies plays an important role. Patients often do not get access to advanced psychotherapy due to lack of resources, social stigma associated with mental disorders, and lack of skilled psychotherapists, wherein, medication proves to be useful. Antidepressants are widely available due to high presence of generic drug manufacturers, who offer cost-effective drugs, whereas, cost for psychotherapy is relatively higher and is unavailable everywhere due to lack of skilled psychiatrists. According to Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA), costs for psychotherapy single session range from US$ 60 to US$ 150, whereas, costs for one branded drug tablet ranges from around US$ 5 to US$ 10. Newer treatment options include brain stimulation therapies such as electroconvulsive therapy and vagus nerve stimulation, which are not widely available and are expensive as well. For instance, Fisher Wallace, created a U.S. FDA approved stimulator, Fisher Wallace Stimulator to treat depression, anxiety, and insomnia, costing around US$ 700, which majority of the population cannot afford.

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Some major players operating in the depression therapeutics market are Pfizer, Inc., Eli, Lilly and Company, AstraZeneca, Plc, Allergan Plc, GlaxoSmithKline Plc, Intellipharmaceutics International, Inc., Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited, H.Lundbeck A/S, Otsuka Holdings Co.,Ltd., Apotex, Inc., Shionogi & Co. Ltd., Zhejiang Hua Hai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd, and Chengdu Kanghong Pharmaceutical Group Co.,Ltd.