Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae or Mycobacterium lepromatous. Leprosy is also known as Hansen’s disease. It primarily affects the nerves, the skin, the eyes, mucosa (of the mouth, the nose, and the pharynx), the kidneys, the testes, the reticulo-endothelial system, and the voluntary smooth muscles of the human body. Signs of leprosy can be easily identified. These include skin lesions with no sensation and thickened or damaged nerves.
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Leprosy can be broadly classified into paucibacillary leprosy and multibacillary leprosy. Moreover, leprosy patients with negative smear test at all sites are said to have paucibacillary leprosy (few skin lesions with or without the involvement of peripheral nerves). Those with positive smear test at any site are said to have multibacillary leprosy (multiple skin lesions in addition to nasal bleeding and edema at feet).
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the global prevalence and incidence of leprosy was 176,176 cases and 211, 973 cases respectively, at end 2015. Leprosy is most prevalent in low-income countries. Treatment by using one anti-leprosy drug (monotherapy) is likely to result in the development of drug resistance by bacteria toward that drug. Thus, multidrug therapy (MDT) is a standard treatment for leprosy. Multidrug therapy was first recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) Expert Committee in 1984. The WHO has been supplying MDT free of cost to all endemic countries since 1995. Rifampicin is the most commonly used antileprotic agent.
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It is effective in both types of leprosy. The WHO recommends multidrug combination of rifampicin, clofazimine, and dapsone for the treatment of multibacillary leprosy, whereas paucibacillary leprosy is treated with rifampicin and dapsone. Recently, some clinical trials have shown that certain quinolones such as ofloxacin, azithromycin, and minocycline are active against Mycobacterium leprae. The WHO has recently recommended single-dose treatment with minocycline, rifampin, or ofloxacin in patients with paucibacillary leprosy.
Rising prevalence of leprosy and expanding pool of patients suffering from leprosy all over the world and new treatment options are projected to drive the global leprosy treatment market during the forecast period. In addition to this, emergence of new technologies, favorable government initiatives, and availability of favorable reimbursement policies for high-cost therapies are projected to drive the leprosy treatment market in the near future. However, developing economies with low health care expenditure and least availability of medical facilities for proper diagnosis of diseases are projected to restrain the leprosy treatment market in developing countries during the forecast period.
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The global leprosy treatment market can be segmented based on disease type, drug type, distribution channel, and region. Based on disease type, the global leprosy treatment market can be categorized into paucibacillary leprosy and multibacillary leprosy. Based on drug type, the market can be classified into phenazine derivatives, sulfone derivatives, anti-tubercular drugs, and others. Based on distribution channel, the global market can be segmented into online pharmacies, retail pharmacies, and hospital pharmacies.
Geographically, the global leprosy treatment market can be divided into North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia Pacific, and Middle East & Africa. North America is expected to hold the largest share of the global market from 2018 to 2026, due to favorable reimbursement scenario, high expenditure on health care, and rapid adoption of new technologies in the region. Europe is expected to be the second-largest market for leprosy treatment during the forecast period, due to rising awareness about new treatment options and high disposable income of people in the region. The Asia Pacific leprosy treatment market is expected to expand rapidly during the forecast period.
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Growth of the market in the region can be attributed to rising prevalence of leprosy, increasing government initiatives, and rapidly developing health care infrastructure in the region. As per National Health profile 2017, about 79,000 leprosy cases were detected in India (Asia Pacific) only. According to a report published by the Leprosy Mission Trust in 2014, the rate of prevalence of leprosy in India was about 0.68 per 10,000 people.
Key players operating in the global leprosy treatment market are GlaxoSmithKline plc, Macleods Pharmaceuticals, Cadila Pharmaceuticals, Novartis AG, Systopic Laboratories Pvt. Ltd., AstraZeneca plc, Zydus Cadila, Merck & Co., Inc., and Sanofi.
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