The Latin American market for diabetes drug treatments is set to experience major changes within the next three years, following the launch of innovative new products which include three long-acting insulins and four non-insulin treatments, according to new forecasts.

Nevertheless, the report - from Frost & Sullivan - emphasises that pharmaceutical manufacturers need to continue their research in order to develop treatments that can restore beta-cell function and thereby postpone or prevent disease progression - areas than even newer therapies do not address.

The market for diabetes therapeutics in Latin America can be expected to grow, due to the rising prevalence of the condition throughout the region, while improved awareness among patients about the importance of early diagnosis will ensure steady market growth over the next five years, according to the study. 

Currently, patients who have type 2 diabetes with metabolic syndrome need to administer drugs separately for their diabetes, arterial hypertension and hyperlipidemia. As a result, pharmaceutical companies are focusing on the development of new drugs that increase the administration period while controlling elevated glucose levels and normalising the lipid profile, it notes.

“Pharmaceutical companies are looking to introduce into the Latin American market fixed-dose, single-tablet products that will offer a new treatment panorama for type 2 diabetes patients with metabolic syndrome disorder by reducing the daily intake of pills,” according to Lucila Rocca, a healthcare industry analyst at Frost & Sullivan.

However, the study also reports that some governments in Latin America are promoting the development of insulin by local companies at a cheaper prices, because their public systems pay for the majority of diabetes treatments. As a result, generics become an interesting option because of their low pricing. The products that are being developed and purchased in these situations are mainly human or animal insulins, and this represents a threat for multinational drugmakers because they generate maximum revenue from analog insulins.

“In this scenario, pharmaceutical companies need to formulate an appropriate pricing strategy and educate society on the therapeutic and administration benefits of analog insulins over human or animal products to boost the sales volumes of analog insulins in the public segment,” advises Ms Rocca.

“Pharmaceutical companies should also offer prophylactic therapies based on genetic disposition, since the population with prediabetes in Latin America is estimated to be approximately three times the size of the diabetes population,” she adds.