HIGH DEMAND FOR AFFORDABLE DRUGS
To often in emerging countries doctors are forced to watch patients suffer because they cannot afford the drugs that could improve, extend, or save their lives. Price is not the only reason why people do not get the medicines they need, but it is a major barrier. The high cost of many life-saving drugs not only keeps patients from getting treatment, but also discourages health ministries from improving the quality of patient care through the use of newer and better medicines.
Going in to what is broadly described as the “patent cliff era” there is a great opportunity for new innovative pharmaceutical companies to develop and introduce affordable generics of critical pharmaceuticals. In doing so essential and highly demanded drugs can be sold at affordable prices making them available to larger populations across the globe.
The estimated demand for medication in emerging markets is expected to more than double between 2012-2020 according to a report from PwC on pharmaceutical markets. Although emerging markets are important drivers in the increasing demands of critical pharmaceuticals, the healthcare systems in established markets will also meet rising demands strongly challenged by flat or declining budgets.
Looking into biological treatments as such, governments in emerging markets understand the critical role that biopharma will play in boosting healthcare outcomes, and they are supporting alternative ways to fulfill demand for these products. In established markets payors are finding it difficult to justify the extremely high priced biopharma products that are currently in high demand. Both camps are eagerly looking for viable alternatives or substitutes that can enable a sustainable healthcare system.
The result of these pressures will be the inevitable development of the biosimilars industry. The availability of biosimilar versions of critical drugs has already opened access to these products to a far larger number of patients; in some markets the biosimilar has more than six fold the sales in comparison to the original drug. As patent protection on more complex biopharmaceuticals expires, more biosimilars will surely follow the same path.