The Diabetes Epidemic
By: Erica Caveney, MD | October 27, 2013
In the past several years, diabetes has become a major and increasing global problem for the healthcare industry that will impact research trends for years to come. Currently the global population affected by diabetes is 350 million people and that number is expected to increase over the next ten years to nearly 550 million people, according to the International Diabetes Association (IDA). The direct costs and the healthcare utilization needed to address diabetes is of grave concern for public health entities around the globe — especially in some emerging markets, where financial and logistical issues limit patients’ access to medicine.
The biopharmaceutical industry is currently developing a number of compounds to fight this epidemic, but the diversification and amplification of the clinical pipeline means biopharma companies interested in this segment need to keep a few issues in mind. From a clinical development perspective, the interest in diabetes treatment had created a crowded marketplace. There are more than 150 compounds currently being developed, which is making it difficult to identify investigators and patients to participate in trials. And as these compounds come to market, patients and providers will have more options to choose from to achieve the best outcomes, making commercialization efforts a challenge.
The treatment guidelines are also very complex, and that complexity is likely to increase as new mechanisms of action come onto the market and incremental improvements are made to the existing mechanisms of action. It will drive a need to clarify guidelines, and utilization practices for these providers, to ensure that patients are treated with the right interventions to drive the best outcomes.
This all means that biopharma needs to be prepared to provide detailed data that will inform providers and policymakers on how these mechanisms should be used, and to deliver evidence around outcomes and downstream value in a way that enables providers to choose and use their products with confidence.