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Global General & Specialty Medicine


The general and specialty medecine industry is one level down from the section dedicated to the healthcare sector.


General medicine is concerned with treating chronic and acute diseases through preventive care, curative care and health education. In comparison, specialty medicine involves the treatment of specific medical conditions and illnesses. Major specialties within this branch of medicine include therapeutic, diagnostic, internal and surgical medicine.



Key Market Segments                                                       


  • The worldwide market for pain management therapeutics was worth almost $20 billion in 2010, according to GBI Research. The market recorded yearly growth in excess of 5% for the eight-year period ending 2010. Lyrica, an anticonvulsant, and Cymbalta, an anti-depressant, represent the leading products on the pain management market. Both are due to expire in 2013. The global pain management therapeutics industry is expected to record yearly growth of 3% between 2010 and 2017 to exceed $35 billion. Market leaders that will continue to fuel market growth include Pfizer’s Remoxy, UCB Group’s Vimpat, J&J’s Nucynta, Orexo’s Abstral and Teva’s Fentora.


  • Leading markets within the pain management therapeutics industry include post-operative pain, low-back pain and cancer pain relief markets. Post-operative pain relief represents the largest segment, reaching almost $6 billion in 2010 or 20% of the overall industry. The post-operative pain relief market was followed by the low-back pain market, which reached almost $5 billion in 2010, for more than 15% of the overall pain management therapeutics market. The cancer pain and neuropathic pain relief markets came third, accounting for a slightly lower percentage of the overall industry than the low-back pain market.


  • The global dermatology market is lead by demand for psoriasis treatment. There are less than 20 million sufferers worldwide, but it accounts for close to 20% of the overall dermatology market, reports Business Insights. The anti-acne market segment is fuelled by combination products, with leading products including Ziana by Medicis, Duac by GSK/Stiefel, and Sanofi’s BenzaClin. Dermatology sales generated $1.3 billion for leading company Leo Pharma in 2010, representing 20% year-on-year growth. The company is forecast to continue recording strong sales with the launch of its actinic keratosis treatment ingenol mebutate.


  • Sports medicine continues to benefit from technological developments. Arthroscopy, a minimally invasive technique has shortened recovery time for athletes. Most procedures are carried out to repair knee damage, reports Koncept Analytics. Sports-related injuries continue to rise due to changing lifestyles, and a growing interest in health and fitness. A higher demand for sports medicine also comes into play thanks to the world’s aging population and less-invasive arthroscopic surgery techniques. The greatest share of profit within sports medicine is derived from shoulder and knee treatments, with arthroscopic repairs marking the market segment with the fastest rate of growth. The US dominates the arthroscopic market, with Smith & Nephew remaining the leading company operating in the market. Other key companies include ArthroCare, Stryker, Conmed, DePuy Mitek and Arthrex.



Regional Market Share


  • The emerging nations of China, Russia, South Africa, Brazil and India hold immense potential for the general and specialty medical industry due to a significant number of patients whose needs are not currently being met. According to Global Data, there are over 120 million people aged 65 or older living in China. In India, more than a billion people, or 5% of the overall population, fall into this category. The country’s population is set to outpace that of China in around 20 years, which will make it the world’s most-densely populated nation. Healthcare demand is, therefore, set to continue rising at a high rate.


  • In Europe, facial aesthetics, medical laser devices and cosmetic surgery generated close to $660 million in 2010, according to research from iData Research. The market is expected to grow to $1.3 billion by 2017.



Market Outlook


General and specialty industry statistics reveal that demand for both kinds of medical treatments are set to continue rising due to an aging global population and rising cases of lifestyle-related diseases like diabetes and cardiac problems. The healthcare system is under immense pressure, made worse by the economic crisis. Due to budgetary cuts and reduced spending, some patients are delaying medical treatment and procedures. As the economy recovers and some patients benefit from wider health coverage, the number of specialty procedures carried out may be set to rise.



Leading Industry Associations




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