According to the International Association for the Study of Pain, pain is ‘an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual and potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage, or both’.

This definition focuses on the subjective and psychological nature of pain and although classification of pain is difficult, it is divided into two types, acute pain and chronic pain, both of which are classified in terms of location, duration, frequency, underlying cause and intensity.

The market for drugs designed to alleviate and manage pain is growing, and has a huge future potential but the treatment-seeking behaviour of people with pain is generally poor, and the market is likely to slow down due to the impact of future patent expiries.

Moderate growth is, however, expected at a rate driven by medium increases in treatment-seeking and better diagnosis rates. The current market faces the need for more complete solutions to pain management that manage pain better and for longer durations. The products that meet this need in the future will change the market landscape and drive growth in the future.

The report provides comprehensive information about pain disorders clinical trials conducted by key companies, institutes, universities and hospitals. The selection of the sponsors is based on the total number of pain clinical trials conducted by them.

“The market for drugs designed to alleviate and manage pain is growing.”

Using GlobalData data taken from clinical trials conducted by key companies, institutes, universities and hospitals from 70 registries across the globe from 1982 to January 2011, attempts to diagnose the present and future state of the global pain clinical trials market.

North America the leading destination for pain clinical trials

As of January 2011, there were 621 clinical trials conducted on pain. Of these, 329 clinical trials were in North America followed by 18% in Europe. Within North America, the US has the highest number of pain clinical trials followed by Canada.

The majority of pain clinical trials are completed successfully

Around 270 clinical trials are in progress, and 288 trials had been completed by January 2011. 63 trials were terminated, suspended or withdrawn due to the lack of efficacy, safety and accrual of subjects. Success rates of the trials are based on completed versus uncompleted (terminated, suspended or withdrawn) trials.

Moderate growth as generic share continues to rise

In 2009, the global pain market was worth approximately $18.3bn, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.3% between 2001 and 2009. By 2016, the global pain market is estimated to reach $22.6bn, indicating a CAGR of 3% between 2009 and 2016. The major reason behind the decline in the growth rate is the decline in the annual cost of treating pain in different indications during 2009-2016.

“More complete solutions to pain management that manage pain better and for longer durations are needed.”

The global pain market is expected to witness a series of patent expiries between 2009 and 2016, including some top-selling drugs such as Cymbalta (duloxetine HCl), Lyrica (pregabalin) and Celebrex (celecoxib) – these drugs together account for approximately 45% of the market.

Other drugs that will lose patent protection include Maxalt (rizatriptan benzoate), Zomig (zolmitriptan), Axert (almotriptan malate), Amerge (Naratriptan) and Quadramet (samarium SM 153 lexidronam). While the current pain market has a healthy pipeline and prospects for growth in the future, these factors will not be able to completely offset the challenge from generic competition.

Therefore while the pipeline ensures a potential for attractive growth in the long term, the market will grow only at a moderate CAGR of 3% during the period 2009-2016.

Generics have substantial presence

The current global pain market is only moderately consolidated. This is due to the impact of high numbers of generics in the market. In 2009, generic sales accounted for approximately 20.4% of the market. This percentage is expected to grow further as more generics enter during the period 2009-2016.

As a result, branded companies are not able to monopolise the market and top three companies account for only a 45% share. The drugs such as Celebrex, Lyrica, and Cymbalta, which are major contributors, will lose patent protection, leaving the market more fragmented. Pfizer leads the market with the sales of Lyrica and Cymbalta.

Eli Lilly and Johnson & Johnson follow Pfizer, while other players such as Endo Pharmaceuticals, Novartis, Merck & Co, Cephalon., AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Genzyme Corporation, Mylan Laboratories, Watson Pharmaceuticals, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Meda AB and other generic players account for 54.9% of the market.

More details on the full GlobalData report.

GlobalData is an industry analysis specialist company providing business information products and services. Its highly qualified team of analysts, researchers, and solution consultants use proprietary data sources, and various tools and techniques to gather, analyse and represent the latest and the most reliable information essential for businesses to sustain a competitive edge.