Drug companies race for share of diabetes market

Thu, 06 Jul 2006
Major pharmaceutical and biotechnological firms are in a race to capture a share of the rapidly growing diabetes market. The news comes following widespread concern amongst healthcare experts that the disease will become a major public health threat.

Several of the major drug companies have new products either awaiting approval or in the advanced clinical trials phases. Major new products already approved or on the market include Exubera (inhaled insulin treatment) and byetta (a diabetes treatment with weight loss side effects.)

Pfizer will debut their new oral insulin product Exubera later this month, following successful clinical trials on humans. The drug is expected to earn the company a fortune as it becomes more accepted and more available over time. Merck, Novartis AG and Eli Lilly are all waiting on the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to approve new diabetes products. Sales could well run into hundreds of millions of dollars. Eli Lilly, whose Byetta is proving incredibly successful, are also awaiting approval for Arxxant, a drug to treat diabetes blindness.

The scale of the market is enormous. In America alone, the diabetes market hit $132 billion in 2002.
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