Apr
06
2009

What is the Market Profile for Obesity Treatments?

by Joe Shlabotnik CC-BY

by Joe Shlabotnik CC-BY

Dealing with the problems caused by obesity is posing a big challenge to western society, although it creates opportunities for businesses involved in the management and treatment of obesity. As we shall see below, although the industry is growing, challenges are still present in this maturing market.

Size of the anti-obesity treatment market

Website Medical Marketing & Media estimates that the market was worth $478 million in 2006, and is forecast to grow to $2.7 billion in 2016. The strongest growth is expected in the US (to nearly $2 billion) but the forecast also includes the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Spain.

The Anti-Obesity Treatments Report explains that over 20% of the US and UK population are seriously overweight, and puts the global market for anti-obesity drugs at $2 billion in 2008. They predict substantial growth from 2009 to 2024, but caution that it will be associated with “a complex environment of label changes, reformulations, patent expiry, over-the-counter switching and new products”.

Main players

According to the market report “Anti-Obesity Treatments 2007-2012“, these are the main industry players:

  • Roche -  41.2% market share
  • Abbott  -  26.3% market share
  • Sanofi-Aventis -  5.9% market share
  • Medley Brazil -  3.1% market share
  • 3M -  1.6% market share
  • Teva -  1.6% market share
  • Novartis – 1.6% market share
  • ALTANA – 1.4% market share
  • Medix  – 1.2% market share

Market Challenges

According to a report on the booming global obesity drug market by market research firm RNCOS, currently four drugs dominate this market: Roche’s Xenical, Abbots Meridia, Sanofi’s Acomplia and GSK’S Alli. According to the report, the market has been characterized by numerous failures. Some drugs have failed to gain approval, others have been recalled, some have caused serious side effects, and some have failed to provide the weight loss expected by consumers. Furthermore:

“Since the price of these drugs can range anywhere between US$50 and US$200, patients often discontinue after they fail to give the desired results.”

Possibly the greatest hurdle for these drugs is that obesity is still regarded as a lifestyle disorder, and drugs treating obesity don’t qualify for reimbursement in many countries.

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