Q. What is the current scenario of multiple sclerosis around the world?
A. According to research conducted by the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America, an estimated 2 to 2.5 million people are affected by multiple sclerosis around the globe. While the disease affects people between the age of 20 and 50, women are two or three times more likely to be affected by MS than men. A 2008 assessment of multiple sclerosis by the World Health Organization reveals that the prevalence of the condition is greatest in Europe, followed by the Eastern Mediterranean, and North America. People in high-income countries are more likely to be affected by the neurological disease; however, the WHO study emphasizes that multiple sclerosis is a global disease and not one solely of the more developed “western” countries.
Q. How are major breakthroughs in the overall multiple sclerosis market affecting the demand for multiple sclerosis drugs?
A. The overall market for multiple sclerosis is no doubt witnessing some groundbreaking developments in recent years. In June 2016, scientists in Canada developed a radical therapy that has shown complete long-term remission from multiple sclerosis. This trial is the first in the world to halt the progression of this debilitating disease and even reverse its symptoms. The new therapy is known as immunoablation and autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (IAHSCT) and involves the use of chemotherapy to completely eradicate the damaged immune system and reboot it by transfusing bone marrow cells. Some participants of the clinical trial were able to return to school, work, get married and have children, and regain the ability to drive.
Although this trial has the potential to considerably change the course of the global multiple sclerosis market, developments such as these act as a deterrent to the multiple sclerosis drugs market. The demand for drugs have been taking a hit owing to an increasing number of MS patients opting for surgical treatments rather than drugs.
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Q. How is the progress of the multiple sclerosis drugs market dependent on the success or failure of major players?
A. Biogen Inc. is one of the leading companies in the global multiple sclerosis drugs market. Its performance and contribution over the years in the form of innovative and high-efficacy drugs and a strong pipeline has significantly driven the market. However, even major players such as Biogen can cause a sudden dip in the multiple sclerosis drugs market. Biogen’s experimental drug for multiple sclerosis – called opicinumab – was one of the most awaited drugs for the year and patients as well as healthcare providers were hopeful of the drug’s ability to change the course of multiple sclerosis. However, the drug failed in a mid-stage trial, missing the main as well as secondary goals for the treatment of the neurological disease. Most of Biogen’s revenue comes from MS drugs and this failure is a major setback for the company. This is also means a hitch in the progress of the global multiple sclerosis drugs market.