Alzheimer's Diagnosis, Treatment In China Is Low

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Decision Resources, one of the world's leading research and advisory firms focusing on pharmaceutical and healthcare issues, finds that the diagnosis and drug treatment of Alzheimer's disease in China is extremely low and will remain low through 2012, particularly in rural regions.

Although rural cases of Alzheimer's disease will account for approximately 70 percent of the prevalent Alzheimer's disease population in China in 2012, less than 10 percent of cases will be diagnosed and even fewer will be treated with approved Alzheimer's disease products.

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"Public and professional awareness and prioritization of Alzheimer's disease in China is poor," stated Jonathan Searles, analyst at Decision Resources. "Patients and caregivers -- and even physicians -- across the nation consider Alzheimer's a natural part of aging and largely untreatable. Coupled with the severe stigma attached to the disease and the high cost of approved therapies, market opportunities for Alzheimer's disease therapies in China will remain constrained."

The new Emerging Markets report entitled Alzheimer's Disease in China also finds that the Chinese Alzheimer's disease drug market will continue to stay untapped and underserved despite growing use of approved therapies. Huperzine A (Chinese brands) and donepezil (Eisai's Aricept, Chinese brands) dominated the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, together capturing nearly 80 percent market share in 2007.

In spite of the continued dominance of costly therapies, including growing use of memantine (Lundbeck's Ebixa) -- the most recently-launched and most expensive Alzheimer's disease therapy in China -- the Chinese Alzheimer's drug market is expected to reach a mere $33 million in 2012, due chiefly to the limited pool of treated patients and competition from older, entrenched medicines.

"Ultimately, patients and physicians in China -- especially in rural regions -- will continue to rely heavily on more affordable and more familiar traditional Chinese medicines, such as ginkgo leaf extracts, if pharmacological therapy is sought at all," added Mr. Searles.

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