Majority of Type 2 Diabetes Patients in China Yet to Benefit from Latest Generations of Oral Treatment

Friday, March 01, 2013

New York, NY - As China’s incidence of type 2 diabetes (T2D) continues to climb, research reveals that the country’s treating physicians are still prescribing first-generation products in second-line treatment – mainly from the Alpha-Glycosidase Inhibitors (AGI) and Glinides classes. This is in spite of the existence and availability of new-generation treatments such as DPP-IV inhibitors and GLP-1 agonists, which are regularly prescribed for T2D patients in the US. These findings come from the Ipsos Healthcare Global Diabetes Monitor, which tracks usage of diabetes drug treatments in 7 markets.

The research confirms that, although Metformin remains the most-prescribed first-line drug in both markets, a significant disparity arises in second-line treatments; in the US, first-generation drugs from the AGI and Glinides classes have a patient penetration of just 1.3%, yet in China this figure climbs to 37.6%. US patients are instead regularly prescribed the new-generation DPP-IV inhibitors and GLP-1 agonists (49.2% patient penetration for specialists, 34.4% for GPs) – either after, or instead of, Metformin. By contrast, the uptake of these products in China is limited to a small percentage of early adopters (2.7% patient penetration).

Commented Dr Federico Gallo, Director at Ipsos Healthcare:

“The data clearly reflects a financial reality in China – that whilst first-generation products are likely to be subsidized by the government, newer molecules are not reimbursed. However, action needs to be taken because assessment and acceptance of new-generation drugs is pivotal, offering major advances for patients and reducing longer-term risks. There is also huge opportunity for the pharmaceutical companies that seek to capitalize in this area.”

Ipsos Healthcare’s Monitor also shows that 35.9% of Chinese T2D patients are additionally receiving one or more insulin products, in comparison to 20% of patients in the US (where such products are typically reserved for later-line, harder-to-control patients).

Commenting on the reasons behind this variance, Gallo added:

“AGIs’ and Glinides’ inadequate ability to control the blood sugar content of Chinese patients could be an important contributing factor to the significantly higher prescribing of insulin products, even at early lines of therapy, which are necessary to complement these oral anti-diabetics.”

Ipsos Healthcare’s data also shows that, on average, Chinese diabetes specialists manage c400 T2D patients visiting 14 times per year, versus US endocrinologists who see c1000 T2D patients visiting 5 times per year.

Explained Gallo,

“In all likelihood, Chinese T2D patients are visiting their healthcare professionals more frequently because Chinese reimbursement policy limits the amount of drugs per individual prescription. However, this creates a time burden on specialists treating this chronic disease; renewing prescriptions for existing patients hinders their ability to diagnose and treat more patients earlier.

“Overall, the opportunities for both early diagnosis and optimally effective treatment of type 2 diabetes in China are being limited. For a disease of such enormous proportions, which also carries the risk of life-threatening complications and associated healthcare expenditure, there is a clear need to modernize the treatment infrastructure. The Chinese authorities are taking steps to introduce a primary care type model, which could help alleviate the former issue, but indications are that completion of this is a long way off.”

About the research

The US research was conducted online in June and July 2012 among 70 Endocrinologists, 200 Primary Care Practitioners and Internal Medicine Specialists, and 1527 type 2 diabetes patients; this sample is representative of the US according to diabetes prevalence. The Chinese research was conducted in May-July 2012, by pen and paper, among 205 Endocrinologists and 3025 type 2 diabetes patients in the 8 major Chinese cities (Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Xi’an, Chengdu, Shenyang and Hangzhou); this sample captures a segment of physicians that tend to be most involved in the treatment of diabetes.

About Ipsos Healthcare’s Global Therapy Monitors

Ipsos Healthcare’s Global Therapy Monitors comprise the industry’s largest portfolio of syndicated patient chart audit data. The suite of global studies tracks usage of treatments across 20+ disease areas, including Metabolics, Oncology, Virology, Autoimmune, Cardiovascular and more. Together, they encompass 4000 physicians reporting on 200,000 patients in 34 markets worldwide. Subscribers to the Global Therapy Monitors can track product usage and maintain a comprehensive understanding of their ever-evolving markets.

About Ipsos Healthcare

Ipsos Healthcare is a global specialised practice focusing on research in the pharmaceutical, bio-tech and medical device markets. It is also a leading provider of global syndicated patient chart studies in 34 markets. Operating in over 40 countries, the team of 500 healthcare market research experts, marketers and client-side brand-builders focuses on delivering outcome-oriented research for its clients. Drawing from a broad range of qualitative and quantitative techniques, Ipsos Healthcare offers custom and syndicated research programs to evaluate the motivations, experiences, interactions and influences of stakeholders forming the multi-customer markets that increasingly drive business success in the healthcare industry.

For more information on this news release please contact:

Federico Gallo, PhD
Ipsos Healthcare

Joanna Butcher
Marketing Director, Syndicated Studies
Ipsos Healthcare

About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. In October 2011 Ipsos completed the acquisition of Synovate. The combination forms the world’s third largest market research company.

With offices in 84 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across six research specializations: advertising, customer loyalty, marketing, media, public affairs research, and survey management.

Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.

Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,363 million (1.897 billion USD) in 2011.

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Majority of Type 2 Diabetes Patients in China Yet to Benefit from Latest Generations of Oral Treatment

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Press Release


Federico Gallo
Ipsos Healthcare
Joanna Butcher
Marketing and Communications Director, UK
Ipsos Mori
+44 07818 422117