Allergy treatment market is a subset of the global pharmaceutical industry

By Avishek Majumder on February 8, 2019
Image by Chokniti

The pharmaceutical drug market is all about production, development and manufacturing of drugs and medicinal compounds (Khanna, 2012). Medicinal compounds, on the other hand, include all active chemical or organic products with capabilities of eradication and control of diseases. The pharmaceutical drug market can be classified on the basis of the treatment of disease, for instance, cardiovascular drug market, respiratory drug market, and allergy drug market. In other words, the allergy drug market is a niche subset of the large pharmaceutical drug market.

Allergy treatment market

Allergy drug market, on the other hand, comprises of all types of drugs available against every type of allergic condition found globally. However, in many cases, allergic drugs are themselves responsible for causing drug based sensitivities, and hence different type of treatment is provided. Therefore, it’s safer to say allergy treatment market rather than allergy drug market. Furthermore, allergy treatment market comprises of all activities from the development of new treatment methods to marketing and sales (European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 2015). Allergy treatment market, however, is best defined on the basis of available treatment, types of diseases, and sales/revenues generated. Reports indicate that the global allergy treatment market valued at USD 24.65 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach USD 40.36 billion by 2025, registering CAGR of 6.3% from 2018 to 2025 (Allied Market Research, 2017).

Allergy treatment methods

Treatment methods in the global allergy treatment market
Treatment methods in the global allergy treatment market

Globally, the most prevalent allergic conditions include allergic asthma, allergic rhinitis, atopic dermatitis, food allergy, drug allergy and skin allergies (European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 2015). Treatment methods for allergy mainly comprise of;

  • drugs,
  • immunotherapy,
  • over the counter drugs, and
  • self-medication (AYUSH).

Globally, the allergy treatment market mainly focuses on;

  • oral,
  • inhalers,
  • intranasal, and
  • tablet types of pharmaceutical products.

However, in recent years AYUSH treatment methods have effectively helped in the management of allergic conditions (Allied Market Research, 2017). It is a cluster of naturalistic methods of treatment comprising of;

  • Ayurveda (A),
  • Yoga (Y),
  • Unani (U),
  • Siddha (S), and
  • Homeopathy (H).

However, it is most popular in the regions of South East Asia and East Asia (Job & Mamatha, 2019). Immunotherapy is another form of treatment for allergic conditions that are reported as severe and life-threatening. Anti-allergy drugs are classified mainly into mediator-release inhibitors, histamine H1 antagonists, thromboxane A2 inhibitors, leukotriene antagonists, and Th2 cytokine inhibitors (Kowalski et al., 2011).

Allergic drug market of USA

Pharmaceutical companies like ALK-Abelló A/S, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, and Sallergenes Greer are the leading allergic companies in the USA. According to the report by Allied Market Research, (2017), USA generated around USD 7000 million from sales and allergic treatments in 2017. Both over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medicines are available in USA.

Immunotherapies, however, is the largest form of allergy treatment available or preferred in the USA. This is evident from the fact, approximately 70% of the allergic treatment revenues generated in USA come from sales of immunotherapy. However, the most common types of treatments for allergy is done by antihistamines, corticosteroid, decongestants, epinephrines, nasal sprays, leukotriene inhibitors, mast cell inhibitors, and eye drops (Park et al., 2018). They are available in both OTC form and prescription form. Amongst the types of immunotherapies, sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is the most commonly preferred in USA.

Allergic drug market of India

Pharmaceutical companies like Sun Pharmaceuticals, Cipla, and Glenmark are the leading Indian alleric drug makers. According to Bonini & Bonini, (2017), Indian pharmaceutical companies are now more focused on biosimilars such as cytokines, hormones, tissue-engineered products, and DNA engineered, rather than generic and prescribed drug developments. Unlike the USA, the sales of prescribed drugs and OTC are higher in India than immunotherapies. However, this is on the fact that immunotherapies in India are very costly and costs around USD 1400 per 21-day therapy (Times of India, 2017). On the other hand, prescribed oral and nasal drugs costs between USD 5 to USD 500. However, allergy drugs such as antihistamines, corticosteroid, decongestants, epinephrine, nasal sprays, leukotriene inhibitors, mast cell inhibitors, and eye drops are also available in the Indian market (Bonini & Bonini, 2017).

AYUSH in recent years has gained popularity not only in India but also globally (AYUSH, 2017). India is also the second largest exporter of herbs and natural products. Allergy treatment via AYUSH methods usually comprises of usage of naturalistic products and medicines developed from plant extracts. Most common AYUSH based companies in India manufacturing allergic medical products includes Dabur Pharma ltd., Dr Reckeweg, JIVA Ayurveda, and Hamdard (AYUSH, 2017). Although, AYUSH based products do not constitute the allergy drug market of India, they do form the allergy treatment market of India.

Relationship between the pharmaceutical drug market and the allergy treatment market

There is no basic differentiation between the pharmaceutical drug market and the allergy treatment market. In fact, allergy treatment market is a small subset of the pharmaceutical drug market. This can collaborate with the fact that any drug policy implementation, like the Drug and Cosmetics Act, causes a similar impact on both allergy treatment market and pharmaceutical drug market. According to Drug and Cosmetics Act in Chapter 4 of 17(A) point,

a drug shall be deemed to be adulterated,if it consists in whole or in part of any filthy, putrid or decomposed substance.

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, 2010

In case of adulterated drug definition hold for all pharmaceutical drugs manufactured in India . Therefore, this policy is mandatory for any type of drug market, be it cardiovascular drug market or allergy drug market.

The global pharmaceutical treatment market
The global pharmaceutical treatment market

However, only difference lies with respect to AYUSH based allergy treatment methods. Both AYUSH and allopathic drugs available in the market forms the allergy treatment market. The policies and guidelines for AYUSH are different from those of allopathic drugs. Drug and Cosmetics Act specifically mentions in Schedule E (I) of Rule 161 to describe poisonous substances used in AYUSH especially, Ayurveda, Unani, homoeopathy, and Siddha (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, 2010). However, since the AYUSH based allergy treatment is focused on equivalent efforts towards the management of allergic conditions, they too are a part of the overall pharmaceutical drug market.


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