arkinson’s disease market has considerable potential to grow but requires earlier and better diagnosis, according to a new report.

An analysis by Frost & Sullivan, called European Markets for Parkinson's Disease Therapeutics, notes that the market earned revenues of over $1.28 billion in 2008 and should reach $2.28 billion in 2015. Although Sinemet and Sinemet controlled-release levocopa/carbidopa products are still selling, the introduction of Boehringer Ingelheim’s Mirapex (pramipexole) and GlaxoSmithKline’s ReQuip (ropinirole) “has been largely responsible for driving the market over the recent period”.

The F&S report notes that the increased use of these medications “is spurred by the recent announcements from key physician groups recommending their use in early-stage Parkinson's disease”. Doctors are also calling for a delay in the use of carbidopa/levodopa due to concerns over the development of clinically relevant dyskinesias.

However, the study goes on, “there are considerable chances for physicians to misdiagnose Parkinson’s disease”. The number of cases that go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed each year range from 20%-40% of the total and in most cases, the disease is not diagnosed until 80% of the dopamine-producing neurotransmitters are depleted.

F&S programme manager Paljit Sohal says that an estimated one million patients are afflicted with the disease “and as many as 400,000 are improperly diagnosed or under-diagnosed”. She adds that “recognising the early signs of the disease and making a referral to a neurologist represent the potential for the disease to go undiagnosed”.

The report goes on to say that biomarkers and imaging techniques are likely to improve the diagnosis of the condition at a much earlier stage “and hence, their development should be supported”. Ms Sohal concludes that “market participants should collaborate with neurologists and physicians to improve the rate and the process of diagnosis. This will expand the target population and thereby, market revenues.”