Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most common autoimmune arthritis affecting more than 1.3 million U.S. citizens (American College of Rheumatology). More surprising is to know that around 75% of this affected population is women. Affecting the joints at any age, rheumatoid arthritis needs to be addressed early to avoid expensive joint replacement surgery. While it can affect any joint, small joints in hand and feet tend to be affected the most. Treatments available for rheumatoid arthritis aids to relive symptoms and improve the joint function. A comprehensive treatment for RA usually involves integration of patient education, exercise, medications, and surgery (occasionally).
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NSAIDs and corticosteroid are also the first-line fast acting therapeutic drugs. Acetylsalicylate, naproxen, ibuprofen, etodolac, and diclofenac are the NSAIDs usually prescribed as first-line drugs for RA. These drugs reduce inflammation, and pain. Corticosteroid medications are given either orally or parenterally to reduce inflammation and restore joint mobility and function. These class of drugs are more potent than NSAIDs and therefore usually preferred a first line therapy by prescribers. The global rheumatoid arthritis treatment industry is expected to be driven considerably in near future by DMARDs that form second line slow-acting therapeutic drugs. Longer therapeutic regimen with these drugs increases cost of therapy and also promote remission of joint destruction and deformity. Methotrexate is the most commonly prescribed second line drug for RA and hence, occupies major share in the respective segment of global rheumatoid arthritis treatment market. Tofacitinib (Xeljanz) is the most potential FDA approved Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor available in the global market of rheumatoid arthritis treatment.
FDA approved biologic drugs include rituximab (Rituxan, MabThera), abatacept (Orencia), adalimumab (Humira), etanercept (Enbrel), certolizumab (Cimzia), anakinra (Kineret), infliximab (Remicade), golimumab (Simponi), and tocilizumab (Actemra). Besides these approved drugs, biosimilars in pipeline would fuel the rheumatoid arthritis treatment market growth in near future.
Key statistics pertaining to the global rheumatoid arthritis treatment market:
Over time, there is damage to cartilage and mobility function of the affected joint in rheumatoid arthritis patient.
- Affects nearly 1.3 million U.S. population (RheumatoidArthritis.org)
- Most common in the age group of 30-60 years
- Global prevalence varies in the range of 0.3% to 1% (World Health Organization)
- Average annual cost of treatment may go up to US $20,000 (RheumatoidArthritis.org)
- According to the Arthritis Foundation, people with RA loose more workdays compared to those affected by any other medical condition
- According to a Harvard University study published in the Journal of Global Health (2017), prevalence of rheumatoid arthritis in Southeast Asian countries was 0.4%, 0.42 in western Pacific region, and 0.37% in eastern Mediterranean countries
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Plethora of research work to introduce effective treatment therapies in the global rheumatoid arthritis treatment market
Introduction of newer therapies are expected to fuel growth of rheumatoid arthritis treatment market in developed nations. Emerging economies are late adapters to new technologies and therapies, thus are potential markets for brands not yet marketed in these countries. The Chinese FDA recently approved Xeljanz for RZ treatment (2017). The product is awaiting approval from the EU. Among the Asian countries, India, China, Pakistan, and Bangladesh had major prevailing rheumatoid arthritis patients as per WHO–ILAR COPCORD (International League of Associations for Rheumatology) (Community Oriented Program for Control of Rheumatic Diseases) studies (2015). Some of the products in pipeline include:
- Antibodies that target collagen II, an important protein in joint cartilage (Researchers at the Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology, Uppsala University, Sweden)
- Stem cell I.V. therapy developed by Mesoblast Ltd. to treat RA patients unresponsive to TNF drugs (phase 2 trials)
More of such developments by the market players will be a significant contributor towards the growth of global rheumatoid arthritis treatment industry.
Some of the major players in the global rheumatoid arthritis treatment market are Pfizer, Inc., Johnson & Johnson, Abbvie, Inc., F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG, Merck & Co., Inc., and Amgen, Inc..