Millions of Indians are at risk of developing osteoporosis. While women are more likely to develop the disease, men are equal sufferers from it. It is estimated that at the age of 50, a woman has a 40 per cent chance of developing an osteoporotic fracture during her remaining lifetime. Drugs, which are used to treat osteoporosis, can be grouped into two classes. The first category comprises agents, which limit the rate of bone loss and are referred to as ''anti-resorption drugs''. The second group of drugs promotes bone formation and is referred to as ''bone forming drugs''.
No single class of drugs is perceived to manage osteoporosis on a standalone basis. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and bisphosphonates are the most prescribed drugs. Calcium, vitamins and alfacalcidol preparations are also prescribed for prevention. The anti-osteoporosis market includes multinationals like Glaxo-Smithkline, Novartis, Infar and Wyeth Lederle. The Indian companies who have notched up a substantial market share are Cipla, Dr Reddy's Laboratories and Elder Pharmaceuticals.
The Indian osteoporosis medications market presents great opportunity. Indian pharmaceutical companies need to increase awareness levels about the disease and it's implications on both the physician as well as patient level. New compounds that rebuild bone mass and are associated with minimal side effects represent another area of opportunity. Currently, Selective Oestrogen Receptors Modulators (SERMs) such as Raloxifene and new generation bisphosphonates such as Risedronate have not been introduced in the Indian market. These drugs have a better efficacy and fewer side effects than the current therapies.
The osteoporosis medications market is viewed as a typical lifestyle related disease with high brand loyalty. Current lifestyle disease markets like cardiovascular and diabetes therapies are gradually getting saturated. The time is right for Indian pharmaceutical companies to focus on the osteoporosis medications market.