Prevalence of allergy in India and global market size of its medicines

By Priya Chetty on July 4, 2016

A hypersensitivity disorder in which human body’s immune system generates specific response against a substance which is otherwise harmless is termed as allergy (Pawankar 2014). This abnormal reaction can be triggered by environment allergens or aero-allergens, food allergens, insects or drugs. These substances in the environment or food or drugs are called allergens (Taylor & Hefle 2001). Vulnerability to allergens can be linked to family history or there can be various reasons not well understood. Environmental changes, alterations in nutritional and lifestyle routines and urbanization are considered as universal developments constraining to the allergy drugs market escalation (Sampson et al. 2014). However there exists no inclusive treatment for allergies, but for few selective allergens, growing market for immunotherapy is anticipated to offer a cure (Garfield & Lowell 2013).

A multi-organ disease, initiated by the immune system itself, wherein the IgE antibodies that otherwise detect infections are mediated to the allergen releasing histamine that triggers allergic reactions in the body (Taylor & Hefle 2001). These allergic reactions may vary from sneezes to running nose, mild hay fever, skin rashes, wheezing or to life-threatening anaphylaxis (Sampson et al. 2014). Despite handful knowledge and extensive research that grounds allergy in humans, the population being affected by allergies is increasing each year with major influence on children (Taylor & Hefle 2001).

Prevalence of allergy in India

In terms of allergy scenario in India, many studies blame indoor and outdoor contaminants as being associated with respiratory problems in India (Singh & Kumar 2003). Also, use of unclean cooking fuels, environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), smoking and advanced age have been related to rising asthma cases in both adults and children (Singh & Kumar 2003). Studies also intend to find a link between food allergens and environmental allergens. There exists considerable correlation among food allergen susceptibility and allergic respiratory ailments (Garfield & Lowell 2013). Citrus fruits, banana, black-gram and rice have been commonly seen showing allergic reactions in both children and adults. Furthermore, cases of food allergies causing adverse reactions are rare in one or two in a hundred (1-2%) of the total population in India has been a cause of concern (Food Standards Agency 2013).

Global allergy medication market

Allergy is considered as a chronic disease worldwide, its’effects are widespread with millions of people under its influence (Jose 2010). Moreover, there are no signs that the number of victims will reduce or even lessen in near future. The allergy drugs and treatment market is witnessing huge growth as the demand for effective allergic drugs and alternative therapies is increasing (Singh & Kumar 2003). The antihistamines combined with decongestants show positive results, hence are widely prescribed owing to a strong market for them. The overall allergic drugs, diagnostics and treatments market is predicted to boost by $46.8 billion by 2020 (Anon 2015). With practically $35.3 billion in 2015, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR), subsequently for 2015 to 2020 interval is anticipated to be 5.8% (Jose 2010). It is further predicted that the global returns by 2020 will comprise nearly 40% share from the generic allergy drug market in the USA (Jose 2010).

Anticipating a market for allergic medication in India

In India, occurrence and severity of allergic diseases have seen on a rise (Prasad 2013). Within the country, around 20% to 30% of the whole population experiences one or other form of allergic ailments and among them the most common ones are:

  1. Rhinitis,
  2. Asthma,
  3. Anaphylaxis,
  4. Food, insects and drug allergy,
  5. Urticaria,
  6. Eczema and
  7. Angioedema (Prasad 2013).

The rapidly growing heavy environmental pollutants, changing lifestyles, low-quality dietary habits and the existence of a variety of communicable and non-communicable diseases further complicate the prevalence of allergic diseases in the country.

Simultaneously, the growth trend in the market for allergic drugs is constructive, proposing an advanced scope for this study. Thus the problem stated is to bring all ends together; recognize widespread allergic ailments, ascertain promising drug therapies and analyze the development in the Indian market.

The Government of India has been keen to bring advancements in the understanding of the prevalence of allergic diseases (Prasad 2013). Various techniques and activities are being imparted to explore, elaborate and update the allergic distress in the country. Training doctors through different programs, establishing asthma and other allergy clinics in hospitals, incorporating allergic diseases research in education, providing the newest technology and many more initiatives are being worked upon (Prasad 2013). However, there are fragmented efforts that target allergic diseases (Jose 2010). The White Book on allergy, by the World Allergy Organization (WAO) prospects to put forward the existing menace of allergy worldwide, provides data for allergy prevalence along with future recommendations (Jose 2010). It appeals government and non-government health care organizations to evaluate the allergic epidemic condition globally, provide affordable drugs and treatments, involve preventive procedures to reduce the causes of risk factors like open-air contaminants and smoke toxins.

There exists prime requisite to understand the main drivers of allergic stress worldwide (Singh & Kumar 2003). The moderation, confrontations and prospects that may influence the global allergy medical condition along with the approximation and forecasts of the allergy market profits (Singh & Kumar 2003). The market share must be scrutinized for the development of constructive policies to control the existing market of allergic diseases.


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