Bipolar drug sales slide: more patients but more generics

The drug companies aren’t very happy, and we Bipolar patients shouldn’t be either.

According to an article in PharmaTimes, there are more atypical antipsychotics going generic, enough for a monetary, ‘precipitous decline’ to be felt within the drug class (although the article did not detail which drugs or when).    But, with a decline in sales to just over $3 billion by 2021 in the seven major markets, (down from 6.3 billion in 2011) that’s bad news for Bipolar sufferers, because it means there isn’t much in the pipeline for us in the way of new and / or innovative treatment.  In fact, there are only two new antipsychotics  the article called out as becoming imminently available, Latuda (lurasidone) and cariprazine (RGH-188).

The article goes on to point out the area where the greatest financial gain is to be had.  It may seem callous (or obvious) that big pharma is out for the big bucks in uncharted bipolar treatment territory, but their greed can perhaps be beneficial to us sufferers.

The study points out that more effective remission of bipolar depression is the largest unmet need in bipolar disorder, with experts consistently stating few therapies currently achieve sufficient efficacy in this market segment and that, therefore, this presents the greatest commercial opportunity in bipolar disorder.

The treatment of bipolar depression has long been a stubborn and controversial one, and alternatives to traditional antidepressants are truly needed.  As someone who was sent spiraling into mania through the careless use of traditional antidepressants, I can only hope the researchers and drug companies are listening.

If this resource truly has an accurate, overarching view of the immediate future of Bipolar pharma, it’s not very encouraging.  With the ‘treatment algorithm of bipolar largely unchanged,’ (lithium, mood stabilizer and atypical antipsychotics) it looks like we have a good news/bad news scenario playing out over the next decade.  More drugs will going generic (great for the consumer) but not much in the way of new and perhaps better treatments to choose from (bad for the patient).

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