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Brand leaders in RA will lose market share, predict rheumatologists

Rheumatologists believe that the current market for biologic treatments in Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) will see key changes in the next three years.
Rheumatologists believe that the current market for biologic treatments in Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) will see key changes in the next three years.In a recent study, physicians predicted that current market leaders Enbrel (etanercept) and Humira (adalimumab) will continue to lose market share to newer biologics such as RoActemra (tocilizumab), Orencia (abatacept) and Simponi (golimumab) and may experience strong competition from biosimilar agents and pipeline products with novel mechanisms of action, including small molecules.The survey, which was conducted by global healthcare specialists Research Partnershipamongst European rheumatologists, asked physicians to give their opinions on the current and future RA treatment landscape. Across the EU, physicians believe that biologic usage will increase by an average of 8% over the next three years. However, they also expect that use of traditional anti-TNFs such as Enbrel and Humira will decrease by 6% over the same period and pipeline products are expected to capture a larger pool of patients in the double digits.

Enbrel and Humira currently dominate the RA biologics market thanks to strong performances on key product attributes including long-term efficacy and safety. They achieve high scores on overall satisfaction and likelihood to recommend and are firmly anchored as physicians’ preferred biologic treatments. In addition, these brands stand out from other agents on personal experience, making it difficult for newer products to threaten their established position.

Newer biologics have traditionally dominated the 2nd line+ market and, while they still can’t compete closely with the more established anti-TNFs in the larger 1st line market, they have been making steady gains in the segment as physicians look to expand their armamentarium.
Physicians were also surveyed on their unprompted awareness of pipeline products. JAK-inhibitors were the most commonly mentioned class, with Xeljanz the most frequently cited product. 

Laurent Chanroux, Associate Director of Therapy Watch comments, “the next few years will be an exciting time for the treatment of RA. With an ageing population, the RA market looks certain to continue to grow in the foreseeable future. However, the current biologics market is crowded and reaching maturity, with several key agents launched more than 10 years ago. The growing use of non TNF-inhibitor biologics, along with the gradual launch of biosimilars and new small molecules, has the potential to dramatically change the market landscape in the medium to long term. The EMA’s refusal to grant a marketing authorisation for Xeljanz was disappointing for Pfizer, however, the drug is said to be performing in line with company predictions outside of the EU, with sales of $68m in the first nine months of 2013. Moreover, while Pfizer expects the launch of the drug in Europe to be delayed by several years, a number of other novel small molecules are being investigated by competitors and may reach the market before then.”

Therapy Watch RA is a regular syndicated study conducted amongst 200 physicians in Europe every month and is a service of global healthcare specialist Research Partnership. The study looks at current treatment programmes, product choice selection, patient profiles, market share and switching behaviour. The RA Perceptions survey was conducted alongside the regular tracking study amongst a panel of 208 rheumatologists in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK in June/July 2013. The full report is now available to purchase for £10k/€12k/$16k.
The comprehensive report, RA Perceptions, has been published and is now available to purchase. Click here to find out more.

We are one of the largest independent healthcare market research and consulting agencies in the world. Trusted partner to the global pharmaceutical industry, we use our expertise and experience to deliver intelligent, tailor-made solutions. We provide strategic recommendations that go beyond research, helping our clients to answer their fundamental business challenges. Find out more at

19th December 2013



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