As Diabetes Reaches ‘Catastrophic’ Proportions in China and India, Human Insulin in High Demand
In China, diabetes has been labeled ‘catastrophe’ what with about 12% of adults living with the disease here. With a diabetic population estimated at 114 million, China holds the not-so-desirable distinction of being the country with the highest diabetic population in the world. But this bodes well for the human insulin market here, which is predicted to see the highest expansion rates in China and India until 2020, according to the findings of a market research report.
Before we discuss the dynamics of the human insulin market, here’s a quick lowdown on insulin itself: The pancreas secretes a hormone called insulin, which is responsible for keeping the level of glucose in blood regulated. Besides ensuring that blood glucose levels don’t drop too low or rise beyond a certain level, this naturally-occurring hormone also aids physiological and cellular activities. Diabetes is caused by the pancreas not secreting the right quantities of insulin, which is when doctors would advise diabetics to take doses of insulin – typically in the form of an injection.
Currently, the human insulin market has a number of different products: long-acting, rapid-acting, short-acting, intermediate-acting insulin. These different types of formulations are delivered using devices such as insulin injection pens, insulin pumps, and syringes.
North America is the largest human insulin market, but will soon be beaten by the APAC region
Currently, the majority of the revenues in the human insulin market come from North America. This is because of the millions of aging individuals that stand higher chances of suffering from diabetes here. In the North America region, human insulin is also in demand because of the high prevalence of obesity here; several studies have proven that there is a direct link between a sedentary lifestyle, obesity, and in turn diabetes.
However, the Asia Pacific human insulin market could well outpace that of North America if it continues to show present growth rates in the future as well. A large chunk of this growth in the Asia Pacific human insulin market is being impelled by China, which has in recent years emerged as the country with the highest number of diabetics in the world. The demand for human insulin here is further helped by the fact that insulin prices here are comparatively low. As more and more people in China continue to be diagnosed with diabetes, the market for human insulin here is poised to show much potential for both established and new market players.
In India too, the demand for human insulin is likely to witness a steep incline over the next four to five years. The International Diabetes Federation has said in a recent report that by 2030, India will be home to more than 100 million diabetics. While this number pales in comparison to China, it is by no means small because India is a country with the second-largest diabetic population globally.
Thus, as the number of people with lifestyle-related disorders grows, the demand for human insulin will witness growth along a parallel trajectory.
Growth is promising, but high manufacturing costs hold back human insulin market
There is little doubt that the market for human insulin will rise at a rapid rate thus forward. At the same time, there are several areas where companies in this market will find it difficult to maneuver. The cost and complexity of manufacturing human insulin is one such aspect. Besides the regulatory environment governing the production of human insulin isn’t getting any easier.
Going forward, companies will observe that the only way to overcome these handicaps is by launching convenient, less painful and cost-effective human insulin formulations and delivery methods.
Companies that steal a march over competitors in the human insulin market
Much of the revenues in the global human insulin market are commanded by leading players such as: Eli Lily, Sanofi Aventis, Novo Nordisk, Julphar Pharmaceuticals, GSK, Sembiosys, and Wockhardt. This market will observe a number of new collaborations and long-term agreements as companies try to launch new and effective human insulin products.
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