The heyday of SSRIs for the treatment of depression may be drawing to a close as generic substitutes threaten to erode the market share of their branded counterparts. Over the next decade, marketing both current and emerging antidepressants will present unique challenges and opportunities to companies competing in this arena. Depression is a new study from Decision Resources, Inc., that evaluates these issues over a 2000-2010 forecast period.

  (Photo: )    Generics Temper the U.S. Market 

Because of the heavy impact of generics over the 2000-2010 forecast period, we expect U.S. sales of drugs to treat depression to decline at an annual rate of 1%. The continued use of SSRIs-all of which will be generically available by 2010-as first-line therapy in the majority of patients and the modest uptake of newer antidepressants will be the primary drivers of this decline.

Greater Acceptance of SSRIs Will Bolster the European Market

We expect sales of drugs to treat depression to grow at an annual rate of 2.2% in Europe through 2010. This growth reflects decreasing use of the older antidepressants in favor of the SSRIs and newer dual-action agents -- whose generic availability in Europe will have only a modest impact on the value of the class as a whole -- and increases in diagnosed and drug-treated populations in all countries. Although SSRIs and other newer antidepressants have gained popularity in the European countries in recent years, much room for growth remains, especially in countries such as Italy and Germany, where physicians continue to prescribe the older antidepressants as first-line therapy.

Japan Will Emerge As a Highly Dynamic Market for Antidepressants

Over the next ten years, we predict that sales of drugs to treat depression will grow at a rate of 15% per year in Japan, driven by a significant increase in the diagnosed and drug-treated population and the introduction of several new SSRIs, dual-action antidepressants, and other novel therapies. In the fourth quarter 2000, paroxetine (GlaxoSmithKline's Paxil) and the dual-action agent milnacipran (Asahi Kasei's Toledomin) were launched for depression in Japan, and the introduction of these compounds- along with several other reuptake inhibitors in the next few years-will drastically broaden the market for antidepressants in Japan throughout our forecast period. By 2010, we expect antidepressant drug sales to have more than tripled in Japan.

Depression offers invaluable market intelligence for pharmaceutical companies competing in this market, and is a part of Cognos, one of six Pharmacor services available from Decision Resources that evaluate the commercial potential of drugs in research and development.

Decision Resources, Inc., is a world leader in research publications and advisory services designed to help clients shape strategy, allocate resources, and master their chosen markets. Founded as a subsidiary of Arthur D. Little, Inc., the company has provided strategic information services for 30 years, assessing international pharmaceutical and health care industry trends. Visit Decision Resources at

Contact Frank Sama, 781.296.2553 (tel), 781.296.2525 (fax), or

In Europe, contact Francoise Bidart, +32.2.351.4082 (tel), +32.2.351.2347 (fax), or

In Japan, contact Makiko Yoshimoto, +81.3.5401.2615 (tel), +81.3.5401.2617 (fax), or


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SOURCE: Decision Resources, Inc.

Contact: Frank Sama of Decision Resources, +1-781-296-2553, or