Human Immune-deficiency Virus (HIV) is one of the most widespread, catastrophic, incurable diseases among humans throughout the world. According to the 2013 report by World Health Organization (WHO), HIV ranked 6th among the global deaths throughout the world, with approximately 1,776,270 deaths in 2009 itself. HIV presents itself as a complex mix of symptoms, all related to severe immune compromise. The global HIV market, according to the Financial Times 2015, was around USD 20 billion in 2013, which ranks it along with the global insulin market. High quality global journalism requires investment. Globally, the annual deaths from HIV/AIDS have fallen from 2.3 million in 2005 to 1.5 million in 2013, according to the UN AIDS report. HIV antivirals are the largest segment of drugs in the HIV market. Pharmaceutical companies however are focusing on the research and development of novel drugs that prove to be a long term cure for HIV virus and shall forever suppress the virus throughout the life of an individual.
Treatments also involve dietary modifications and symptomatic relief of conditions presented during the onset of AIDS. Therapeutic treatment is often costly and requires constant supply of energy compounds (sugar/fat) in order for the patient to maintain a standard daily requirement. The affordability of such treatments is a factor of concern in many developing countries of the world. Furthermore, highest number of HIV-infected people is witnessed in poor countries. There is a majority of the HIV infected population living in sub-Saharan Africa region. Hence, worldwide healthcare companies are ensuring to lower their costs in this region so that they can introduce their products to generic competition.
That said, the market for HIV therapeutics potentially remains in billions, with new patent trials being conducted every year. HIV market therefore remains highly attractive in terms of novel drugs and their impact globally. Asian manufacturers are proving to be a tough competition with their unique patent laws that circumvent patent of essential life saving medicines. The prices too are bound to decrease with the entry of such manufacturers, thereby potentially increasing therapeutics market in terms of volume. The North American HIV market is the highest market globally, by value and occupies more than 50% of the global revenue generated from HIV antiviral; this is followed by the European market at around 30% of the global market. The growth in these regions is mainly attributed to high affordability of drugs along with a range of health insurance coverage. In developing markets of Asia and South America, the leading cause of death is their poor healthcare standards. This along with their population size make for a potentially large market, however unavailability of affordable drugs is often the reason why markets haven’t been proliferated as of yet. On the other hand, the recent growth of market in Asia Pacific is a positive sign for potential manufacturers. The rest of the world also follows a similar pattern like Asia. Overall the Asian, African and South American region contribute less than 20% share in the global HIV market.
Some of the well known companies manufacturing HIV drugs are: Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, ViiV Healthcare (Pfizer Inc.) and GlaxoSmithKline plc, Gilead Sciences Inc., Boehringer Ingelheim (C.H. Boehringer Sohn AG & Ko. KG), F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG, Abbott Laboratories Inc., Janssen Therapeutics, Merck & Co. Inc., Cipla Limited, and others, to name a few.