Global and China Insulin Market Faces Stiff Competition from Innovative Diabetes Therapeutic Alternatives

The World Health Organization reveals that the global prevalence of diabetes among adults aged 18 and above was 9.0% in 2014 and by 2030, diabetes is likely to become the seventh leading cause of death. An estimated 1.5 million people died directly owing to diabetes in 2012.

This surging prevalence of diabetes is the foremost factor boosting the demand for insulin. According to Transparency Market Research, the global and China insulin market is poised to grow from US$19.9 Bn in 2012 to US$32.2 Bn by 2019, developing at a healthy CAGR of 6.10% from 2013 to 2019.

Why China’s Contribution towards the Insulin Market is Noteworthy 

China, according to the International Diabetes Foundation, has the largest diabetes epidemic in the world and the rapidly growing rate of diabetes in the country has surpassed that of the US in terms of its prevalence. A 2013 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association states that 11.60% of Chinese adults have been diagnosed with diabetes. The Chinese diabetes population, which stands at 114 million people, makes up for around one third of the global diabetes population. This is a major factor driving the China insulin market.

In the latter half of October, China-based Yabao Pharmaceutical Company announced a strategic collaboration with US-based Eli Lilly and Company for the development of a “promising therapeutic approach” for early-stage and advanced diabetes treatment worldwide. The SGLT1, Lilly’s special compound, is a sodium-glucose linked transporter inhibitor that minimizes insulin and glucose without causing side effects such as hypoglycemia or weight gain. Innovations and alliances such as these hold strong scope for the growth of the China insulin market. 

Consolidated Competitive Landscape Sheds Light on Future Prospects

The global insulin market is dominated by just a handful of leading players such as Sanofi, Eli Lilly and Company, and Novo Nordisk A/S, which account for over 80.0% of the overall market. Domestic Chinese players in the insulin market include Tonghua Dongbao and Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. 

Even though insulin has been the mainstay of therapy for patients suffering from diabetes, competitors Sanofi and Novo Nordisk indicate that the prospects for this market are rather slim. Both companies have revealed that the shift towards next-generation oral anti-diabetes therapies that are easier to use. Stocks of both the companies were down in the last week of October owing to the advent of new drug delivery systems.

The introduction of the latest SGLT2 inhibitors, such as Jardiance (empagliflozin) by Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly and Company, has been remarkably accepted in the diabetes community after data showed that this drug presents a cardiovascular benefit. 

So even though the insulin market has been growing at a steady and healthy pace over the past several years, chances are that the market scenario will reflect a major change in the not-so-distant future.


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