Epidemiology Drives Opportunity
Trends in the epidemiology of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are significant. While the markets associated with type 1 diabetes will grow with population rate, type 2 diabetes markets will expand much more rapidly due to the aging of the general population, increased incidence of the disease in younger people, and the enhanced diagnosis rates due to more effective screening. Current estimates of the number of diabetics in G7 countries can be seen in the Figure.
Eating and exercise habits in the industrialized world and particularly in the U.S., are likely to make the markets for type 2 diabetes products among younger individuals more robust than even population demographic figures suggest. Not only are these younger groups more likely to be well insured but they also represent a longer per-patient market opportunity for chronic monitoring and therapeutic regimens.
Demographics, however, don’t tell the whole story either. With the current public health spotlight on diabetes and the emergence of newer screening methods and criteria, it is likely that the percentage of diagnosed type 2 diabetes cases will increase, making the diagnosed population rise even faster. The undiagnosed type 2 diabetes population is the hidden population of diabetics that can represent up to 50% of the total—that is, approximately the same number of diabetics are diagnosed as are undiagnosed.
It is not guaranteed, though, that this large undiagnosed population will be accessible in the near future. Without significant reinforcement of the type 2 diabetes message by industry and the public health community, it is unlikely that the diagnosis rate will climb higher than the 60–65% level that it now holds (although the increase bringing it to that level was a outstanding achievement).
The number of participants in the diabetes markets has increased significantly in the last five years. The number can be expected to expand some more, particularly among biotechnology and biopharmaceutical firms.