By Aiswariya Chidambaram, Senior Research Analyst - Healthcare
Atypical antipsychotics are the most expensive drugs prescribed for bipolar disorder, contributing nearly three-fourth of the revenues of the European bipolar disorder therapeutics market, which was valued at $1.20 billion in 2011. It is interesting to note that nearly 18 per cent of the total atypical antipsychotic drugs in Europe are prescribed for bipolar disorders. The average annual expenditure for bipolar disorder in Europe was estimated to be $48,954.69 million in 2011, making it one of the greatest economic burdens to the European Government. However, the direct healthcare costs (drugs) of bipolar disorder are likely to reduce significantly in the next few years until 2013 due to the patent expiry of several key blockbuster atypical antipsychotics and availability of cheaper generic versions in Europe. While this would translate into huge cost savings for the patients, insurance payers and the Government, the innovator pharmaceutical companies are likely to experience a whopping 30 to 50 per cent slash in their revenues, thereby causing a decline in growth of the European bipolar disorder therapeutics market.
Generics Lead the Way Ahead
Historically, the European bipolar disorder therapeutics market witnessed moderate-to-high growth rates from 2000 to 2007 dueto the approval of several potential atypical antipsychotics during this period.
The first key blockbuster atypical antipsychotic that lost patent protection was Risperdal® (risperidone) from Johnson & Johnson in 2008, following which was Zyprexa (olanzapine) from Eli Lilly, which recently had its patent expire in April 2011. Moving ahead, four blockbuster atypical antipsychotics are due to lose their patent protection, which include Seroquel® IR (quetiapine fumarate) from AstraZeneca and Geodon (ziprasidone) from Pfizer Inc. in 2012, Abilify® (aripiprazole) from Bristol-Myers Squibb in 2014 and Saphris® (asenapine) from Merck in 2015. This is expected to cause an overall decrease of 10.1 per cent in the European bipolar disorder therapeutics market until 2013. As generic equivalents of these blockbuster drugs reach the market, prices are expected to fall between 30 to 60 per cent over the next five years (2011 - 2015).