Market For Alcoholism Therapies Is Underestimated

Armen Hareyan's picture

In this report, entitled "MedPredict Thought Leader Insight & Analysis: Pharmacotherapies for Alcoholism," physician experts discuss the key controversies surrounding development of drugs for alcoholism, and why they think the biopharmaceutical industry is underestimating the size of this market.

According to this physician panel, there are a number of factors stymieing biopharmaceutical companies, including the lackluster commercial performance of naltrexone and acamprosate, a lack of clear FDA guidance on trial design and resulting indications, the stigma associated with alcoholism and associated corporate image risks, and the tremendous fear of product liability litigation. The general corporate perception is that drugs for alcoholism won't be reimbursable, and many of the people who come in for treatment will not be able to afford medicine.

"An analogy would be to attempt to forecast the size of the antidepressant market before the availability of Prozac," according to Dr. Jeff Berk, the report's principal author. "While competitive intensity in the alcoholism field has been low by traditional measures, it is clearly now emerging. We expect to see tremendous growth after the first successful product launches into the primary care physician's office."

Also addressed by MedPredict's panel:


-- Unmet needs from the patient, specialist, general practitioner, 3rd-party payer and societal perspective,

-- Habits & practices of specialists, general practitioners and non-medical treaters,

-- Hurdles preventing increased diagnosis and treatment of alcoholism, particularly in the community setting, and a commercialization model that Pharma can follow to overcome these,

-- Changing paradigms in primary and secondary clinical trial endpoints and alcoholism trial designs, and

-- New screening tools and behavioral diagnostic instruments.