The global epilepsy drug market was valued at USD 3,450 million in 2018 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 3.6% during the forecast period.
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder, which causes frequent seizures, unusual behavior, sensations, and loss of awareness. Anyone can develop epilepsy. However, it is more prevalent in children and people aged 60 or above. The condition is one of the common neurological disorders, which affects about 50 million people across the globe. As per the WHO, around 80% of the epilepsy cases occur in low and middle-income countries. With the ongoing research on epilepsy, it has been found that seizures can be controlled and people can continue to live efficiently with the help of antiseizure medicines.
In the early years, people with epilepsy faced a lot of stigma around their condition. However, the development of new medications and raising awareness about the condition has aided in reducing the stigma and has helped in controlling seizures in a most efficient way. Today, new antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) are developing both the evolutionary and revolutionary categories by offering efficient therapy for the treatment of epilepsy.
In the last few years, significant advances have been made in the diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy. Some of the breakthrough drugs for the treatment for epilepsy include felbamate, gabapentin, lamotrigine, topiramate, tiagabine, levetiracetam, oxcarbazepine, and zonisamide.
Genomics has become an important aspect in the study of neurology. Advancements in genomics can aid people with epilepsy in better management of the disease. To support the cause, a number of government organizations have integrated genomics to reveal hidden facts about epilepsy. For instance, in 2019, U.K charity the Epilepsy Society and UCB (a Belgian biopharmaceutical company) collaborated to bring life-changing treatments for the people who are facing drug-resistant seizures. The genomic research project is worth around USD 2.8 million and is expected to help about 200,000 people with uncontrolled seizures in the U.K.
100k genome project: the landmark 100k genome project of NHS to sequence patients with cancer and rare disease such as epilepsy is adding fuel to the market growth. Over 800 samples from the Epilepsy Society have been sequenced so far and for the next five years, the Epilepsy Society and UCB will work towards developing genome sequencing and analysis of genetic biomarkers. The work builds on initiatives such as Genomics England's 100,000 Genomes Project, which has made it possible to map and investigate genetic characteristics at a larger scale and in a shorter timeframe.
Legalization of medical cannabis has accelerated the research of cannabis-based medication for the treatment of a number of diseases and disorders, including epilepsy. Recently, the FDA has approved the first cannabis-derived drug, named Epidiolex, which is manufactured by GW Pharmaceuticals for the treatment of intractable childhood seizures.
North America is dominating the global epilepsy drug market. This can be attributed to the presence of adequate infrastructure, defined regulatory framework, and favorable reimbursement policies. In the U.S. alone, around 150,000 incidences of epilepsy occur every year, the Epilepsy Foundation of America. To date, the Epilepsy Foundation of America has invested over USD 68 million on the research activities for the treatment of epilepsy. Similarly, many government organizations are funding the epilepsy research in the region, which is further adding fuel to the market growth. For instance, Epilepsy Canada is funding four key epilepsy research projects with an investment of USD 429,000, which is projected to help around 360,000 Canadians with epilepsy. Moreover, new product approvals in the region are also increasing product penetration in the market. For instance, in May 2019, UCB received FDA approval for its NAYZILAM, which is a nasal spray used for the treatment of epilepsy.
Europe is second in the global epilepsy drug market. The region is backed with robust healthcare infrastructure and increasing drug approvals. However, healthcare services vary as per the geographical coverage, population density, and government policies.
Epilepsy is one of the widely prevalent neurological conditions across the globe. In the U.K alone, around 600,000 people are suffering from epilepsy and about 87 people are diagnosed with epilepsy in the U.K every day, the Epilepsy Action. The disorder costs about USD 22.3 billion to the EU every year, the WHO. Moreover, proper management and increasing drug approval for the treatment of epilepsy can drastically reduce the risk of death. As per the U.K government report, around 33,000 people die of epilepsy every year, out of which 40% are preventable.
Epilepsy affects about 15 million people in South-East Asia, the WHO. Despite global advances in modern medicine, epilepsy has been treated as a stigma and surrounded by myths in the region. Patients with epilepsy prefer faith healers over medical doctors, which has worsened the condition in such countries. However, increasing government initiatives to raise awareness regarding epilepsy has benefitted the market. Recently, in December 2019, the National Assembly of Korea passed a special epilepsy budget of around USD 3.7 million for 2020. In addition, international funding has also boosted the market growth. For instance, the National Institute for Health Research invested about USD 35 million in global health research projects involving epilepsy, infection-related cancers, and severe stigmatized skin diseases in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
Some of the key players in the global epilepsy drug market include
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