Age-related macular degeneration is also called macular degeneration, ARMD, or AMD. AMD is a disease of retina that blurs the sharp central vision, which is important for various activities that involve looking straight ahead such as driving, using computer, watching television, sewing, and reading. In AMD, a part of retina called macula, which allows seeing fine details, is affected. AMD is a chronic eye disease that does not cause pain. It is mostly observed in patients aged above 50 years. AMD is a major cause of vision loss amongst the elderly people in the U.S. Rising geriatric population in the U.S. and other countries is expected to increase the prevalence of AMD significantly in the next few years. The disease is more prominent in developed countries and it accounts for 8.7% of blindness all over the world.
AMD is of two kinds viz. wet macular degeneration and dry macular degeneration. The first kind of AMD is more severe. It causes abnormal progression of blood vessels in the damaged part of macula, which damages the retinal vision. Though AMD is associated with aging, the research proposes that there also exists a genetic component to the disease. Scientists at Duke University (North Carolina, the U.S.) and other scientists have identified a strong relationship between AMD development and existence of gene variants such as complement factor H (CFH). Deficiency of the CFH gene is associated with nearly 50% of all potentially blinding cases of AMD. Researchers at the University of Columbia Medical Center and other researchers have identified that variants of an additional gene, complement factor B, may be involved in the AMD development. In around 74% of AMD patients that were studied, a specific variant of these genes has been found, which plays a key role in immune responses of the human body. At present, no treatment exists for dry AMD; however, existing therapies can delay the development of visual impairment and wet AMD.
The market for AMD is driven by increasing number of AMD patients throughout the world. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, in the U.S., around 11 million patients are affected by AMD and the prevalence of AMD is high in countries in Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, due to deficiency of vitamin A in these countries.
Growing reimbursement benefits for AMD drugs is another major driver for the age-related macular degeneration market. Depending on regular cost of the drug, Medicare postulated a National Reimbursement Rate in the U.S. In this condition, the agency pays almost 80% of the cost of bevacizumab and ranibizumab injections and the remaining 20% of the cost is co-paid. Medicare part B is a medical insurance, which includes insurance for eye diseases and diagnostic tests that also covers specific treatment conditions such as AMD. Lack of trained ophthalmologists, high cost of drugs for wet AMD, and associated high risk are some major challenges before the AMD market.
The age-related macular degeneration market can be broadly categorized on the basis of type of AMD, type of drug, route of administration, and geography. Based on type of AMD, the market can be segmented into wet AMD and dry AMD. Based on type of drug, it can be divided into Lucentis, Eylea, Avastin, Visudyne, and others. Based on route of administration, the market has been segmented into IV and intravitreal. Based on geography, the global AMD market can be divided into four regions viz. North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, and Rest of World.
Major players operating in the age-related macular degeneration market are Genentech, Inc. (a member of Roche Group), Pfizer, Inc., Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc., Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Bayer Healthcare (a subsidiary of Bayer AG), and Novartis AG.
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