The global type 2 diabetes (T2D) market is projected to reach $58.7bn by 2025, driven by competitive pricing adopted by pharmaceutical companies, according to a GlobalData report.

Titled ‘PharmaPoint: Type 2 Diabetes – Global Drug Forecast and Market Analysis to 2025’, the report states that the shift in focus of major players towards pricing is a result of impending patent expiries.

This has prompted companies to prioritise pricing before product improvement to maintain their market share. Most of the insulin analogues and human insulin are either available as generic drugs or will soon go off patent.

Drugs such as Humulin and Novolin had their patent expiration in 2001 and 2002 respectively, while the patent for Eli Lilly’s Humalog (insulin lispro) expired in 2013, followed by Novo Nordisk’s NovoLog / NovoRapid (insulin aspart) in 2014, and Sanofi’s Lantus (insulin glargine) between 2014–2015.

"Sanofi had to offer a competitive price in order to win market share."

Major players in the T2D market are, as a result, witnessing a decline in market share as generic medication continues to grow at their expense, coupled with patent losses. Sanofi launched its drug Lyxumia (lixisenatide) at reduced prices to combat competition from glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1RAs), AstraZeneca’s Byetta (exenatide) and Novo Nordisk’s Victoza (liraglutide).

Jesus Cuaron, Ph.D. PPM, GlobalData’s senior analyst covering cardiovascular and metabolic disorders, explains, “Sanofi had to offer a competitive price in order to win market share.

"With health systems in many markets facing cost pressures today, this is likely a strategy that other companies will adopt with their me-too drugs that are in late-stage development.”

According to the GlobalData report, many players in the T2D market have introduced therapeutic improvements in order to tackle insulin biosimilars. Novo Nordisk is expected to dominate the insulin market by 2025, whereas Sanofi has recently introduced Toujeo (insulin glargine, U300).