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Is global pharma industry investing enough in pain killer research?

Funding is difficult to come by for pain killer research since challenges of data collection for clinical trials is high as compared to any other therapeutic area.
The dimension of physical pain for human beings range from a minor back pain to low back pain, back pain, osteoarthritis/rheumatoid arthritis, joint pain, muscle pain, neuropathic pain, Phantom Limb Pain, Stump Pain, brachial plexus avulsion, differentiation pain, facial pain, complex regional pain syndrome, etc. In most diseases, painkillers are a part of every doctor’s prescription. As a practice, generic versions of existing and available pain killers are prescribed by doctors for the masses. Newer drugs in this area like the ‘Cox’ inhibitors perished and made drastic impact on the sales of companies which sold those leaving companies and doctors to resort to the traditional diclofenac and combinations.

Data collection from the www.clinicaltrials.gov has listings of pain killer trials since 2000. From 2000, pain killer research grew at an ever increasing pace and year on year growth rates of the market maintained levels of 40-50 percent till 2006-2007. Growth rates in the pain killer research markets stabilised in the years 2008-2011 and the market continued to grow in the range of 10-20 percent. Post 2011, with ever increasing costs of clinical development which were affecting major therapeutic areas, the pain killer market was not an exception. The market fell to a low growth scenario as pharmaceutical companies started diverting or slashing their budgets for other profitable ventures.

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