U.S. opioid market to surpass $17 billion despite substance abuse concerns
This is according to a new report from business intelligence provider GBI Research - Opioids Overview to 2021: An Assessment of Pain Management and Dependence.
This increase will primarily be down to a rising prevalence of chronic pain among the U.S. population, owing to an aging population and an increasing incidence of diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disorders, arthritis and cancer.
Analyst Deekshita Allavarapu explains: "Approximately 116 million Americans experienced chronic pain in 2014, which is higher than the incidence of diabetes, heart disorders and cancer combined, and as many as 25 million people experienced moderate to severe pain with significant pain-related activity limitations and diminished quality of life.
"For many sufferers, therefore, the prescription and use of opioids such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, fentanyl, or morphine, provides a welcome solution, but brings with it problems associated with substance abuse and dependence, as explored in GBI Research's recent report, 'Substance Abuse Deterrents and Treatments'."
GBI Research states that the US consumes 80% of the world's legal and illegal opioids. They are highly addictive and the country's most abused prescription drug. Indeed, trends indicate that the use of weak opioids is declining, while the use of strong, more easily abused opioids is increasing.
Allavarapu continues: "The FDA has raised concerns over the high use, and the potential for misuse, of opioids. This could lead to the enforcement of regulatory checks that affect the opioid treatment market and its potential growth.
"The result of these possible market restrictions, however, is that opportunities may open up for the development of abuse-deterrent opioids and of products that treat or prevent overdoses.
"Such drugs include Naloxone, which reverses the effect of opioid overdose, Remoxy, a form of controlled-release oxycodone, and Embeda, which combines morphine with an antagonist to reduce the effects of the morphine if necessary." ■