Decision Resources, one of the world's leading research and advisory firms for pharmaceutical and healthcare issues, finds that drug sales for chronic low back pain will nearly double between 2007 and 2017, driven largely by sales of emerging therapies that include drugs from Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson/Grunenthal.

The new Pharmacor report entitled Chronic Low Back Pain finds that Pfizer's tanezumab is poised to be the first biologic agent approved specifically for the treatment of pain, and it may revolutionize the way severe, unremitting chronic low back pain is treated. The report finds that tanezumab will garner 25 percent of overall chronic low back pain market sales by 2017 in the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and Japan. Additionally, Johnson & Johnson/Grunenthal's controlled-release formulation of tapentadol will capture more than 80 percent of sales in the dual-acting opioid class by 2017, owing to its anticipated advantage in efficacy over tramadol.

Tanezumab, tapentadol and several abuse- and/or dependence-deterrent reformulations of strong opioids being developed by King/Alpharma, Pain Therapeutics, and Purdue will drive the overall chronic low back pain market from $3.7 billion in 2007 to $6.9 billion in 2017.

"Emerging treatment strategies have largely involved the development of safer, more tolerable, and/or more conveniently delivered formulations of existing drugs," said Natalie Taylor, Ph.D. analyst at Decision Resources. "This is due to the fact that the chronic low back pain market has been dominated for many years by a plethora of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and opioid analgesics, most of which are available as generic products."

According to surveyed primary care physicians and pain specialist, analgesics with greater consistency in their efficacy and with a lower risk of side effects, tolerance and dependence would fulfill the greatest unmet needs in treating chronic low back pain. The report finds that tanezumab and tapentadol have the potential to offer substantial efficacy improvements over some widely-used current therapies for patients suffering from moderate-to-severe chronic low back pain.

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