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Drugs Today (Barc). 2014 Mar;50(3):251-67. doi: 10.1358/dot.2014.50.3.2134450.

Spotlight on depression: a Pharma Matters report.

Author information

  • 1Thomson Reuters, London, UK. scientific.prousjournals@thomsonreuters.com.
  • 2Thomson Reuters, London, UK.


Depression represents a huge pharmaceutical market opportunity. There are approximately 350 million people worldwide with depression, and it is the leading cause of disability in the world. In the U.S., 9.1% of the population suffers from depression. Globally, fewer than half of depression sufferers receive treatment for their illness, and in some countries this figure falls to fewer than 1 in 10. The high incidence rate, combined with limited market penetration, makes depression a high potential market for pharmaceuticals. However, companies developing drugs for depression also face a number of serious challenges. Psychosocial treatment options remain the preferred first-line therapy ahead of medication-and when it comes to drug treatment, the abundance of generic options available has significantly contributed to halving the value of the branded antidepressant market over recent years. Another hurdle faced by new drugs is the requirement that all antidepressants carry a black-box warning regarding the increased risk of suicide in children, adolescents and young adults, which limits their use in this population. Switching between medications presents both an opportunity and a challenge, as a significant number of patients will switch away from their first medication within the first year of treatment. The lack of complete understanding of why depression occurs also makes this area a difficult one, although it opens the door for the development of drugs with novel mechanisms of action.

Copyright 2014 Prous Science, S.A.U. or its licensors. All rights reserved.


Antidepressants; Depression

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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