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The global autism spectrum disorder treatment market size was valued at USD 6.94 billion in 2022. The market is projected to grow from USD 7.41 billion in 2023 to USD 13.14 billion by 2030, exhibiting a CAGR of 8.5% during the forecast period.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by persistent communication and social interaction deficits with a repetitive/restricted pattern of behavior or activities. Autistic disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, and Pervasive Development Disorder (PDD) are the three main disorder types affecting millions globally. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) 2022 data, it is estimated that about 1 child among 100 is diagnosed with autism worldwide. The growing prevalence of this disease and increasing access to treatment options are encouraging the patient population to seek treatment regimes. The first line of treatment options for autistic patients includes behavioral and educational intervention followed by medication.
Behavioral therapy, such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), has proven effective in improving the social and communication skills of autistic patients. In terms of drug therapies, there are only two drugs approved for managing symptoms associated with autism. This situation offers an opportunity for market players to invest more in R&D to launch effective drugs to treat autistic disorders. Moreover, government authorities are also actively making initiatives to increase awareness related to this disease and providing insurance coverage to reduce the economic burden of this disease. For instance, in August 2022, the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) is likely to invest USD 16.0 million over the next five years (2021-2026) to conduct follow-up studies to the Study to Explore Early Development (SEED). SEED is considered one of the largest U.S. studies, which helps identify various factors that put children at risk of autism. Such initiatives supporting the research and development of ASD studies will lead to the introduction of novel treatment measures, driving the global autism spectrum disorder treatment market growth.
Disruptions to Autism Services during COVID-19 Lead to Slower Market Growth
The unprecedented pandemic at the initial stages resulted in a shutdown of a number of companies in the healthcare industry, leading to a slowdown of manufacturing processes. Additionally, the closure of therapy centers and services related to autistic disorders led to the halt/postponement of therapy sessions for autistic children. This disruption significantly affected the diagnosis rate of autism and delayed the delivery of required care.
However, growing anxiety levels in autistic patients and the risk of contracting COVID-19 as these patients fall under vulnerable groups led to the strong adoption of telehealth systems by patient caregivers/family. This factor also increased the demand for therapeutics and off-label prescription of drugs such as antipsychotics, Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), and sleep medications. Furthermore, the increased usage of online channels to procure autism medications also contributed to market growth during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Companies such as Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd and Johnson & Johnson witnessed strong sales trends for drugs used to treat the condition, which suggests that the pandemic impacted the drug therapies market positively.
In 2021, lockdown restrictions were eased, which led to a resumption of autism services at full capacity, offering therapies via online and offline modes across the globe. This growth continued in 2022, with the resumption of research and development activities by key market players to introduce novel therapies for treating this disease. The global market is anticipated to grow at a steady rate during the forecast period owing to the expected launches of pipeline candidates.
Introduction of Novel Therapies and Interventions for Autism Spectrum Disorder Treatment
Every child or adult with autism faces different challenges, and many people diagnosed with autism have additional medical conditions such as Gastrointestinal (GI) distress. In the 1980s and 1990s, it was first suggested that autistic patients could not digest food proteins very well, specifically the protein casein (found in milk) and gluten (found in wheat). Enzyme replacement therapy was introduced to address this medical condition and has become one of the most important trends witnessed in autism spectrum disorder treatment.
Researchers around the globe believe that autism is caused by excess opioid activity in the brain, which leads to digestive problems associated with particular proteins in food.
Some of the other interventions that emerged include Picture Exchange Communication Systems (PECS), Video Modeling (VM), and Virtual Reality (VR). These interventions provide visual support to autistic patients. PECS is developed for non-verbal or minimally verbal communication in children with ASD. Similarly, VM and VR are designed to encourage social learning and reduce anxiety from unpredictable conditions. However, in some developing and low-income countries, such as Vietnam and Ethiopia, where resources and policies for supporting children with ASD are still very limited. In contrast, China is robustly focusing on introducing novel interventions for the treatment of autism spectrum disorder.
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Rising Prevalence of ASD to Propel Market Growth
One of the critical drivers positively impacting the market growth is the increasing prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) globally. This rise in prevalence has led to increased demand for clinical research for effective therapies and drugs to improve patient outcomes and enhance the accuracy of treating these conditions.
This prevalence rate, combined with the high unmet patient population in emerging countries, is anticipated to surge the demand for novel and effective drugs and therapies for autism spectrum disorder treatment. Consequently, this surge in demand is expected to drive market growth.
Government Initiatives to Increase Access to Autism Therapies to Boost Market Growth
Government initiatives include forming various foundations and sanctioning funding for increasing awareness regarding the treatments and therapies available for this condition. This would eventually lead to early diagnosis of the symptoms and timely treatment through medication and therapies.
Furthermore, government entities also offer insurance coverage to reduce the financial burden of autistic patients and increase their access to autism therapies.
Such provisions will encourage the patient population to seek autism spectrum disorder treatment, especially therapies that are so far proven to be more effective. Hence, this will eventually drive the autism service provider's revenue and market growth.
Lack of Approved Drugs is Likely to Hamper Market Growth
At present, there is a lack of evidence to support the efficacy of any drug in treating the core symptoms of autism spectrum disorder. Despite the growing demand for effective medications and clinical trials for the condition, no drug has been found to be effective. This situation has led to delays in the development of therapeutics for the disorder, hampering market growth. To address this issue, the International Society of CNS Clinical Trials and Methodology and the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology have established an ASD working group to examine and identify the challenges associated with drug development. They have identified fundamental weaknesses in clinical translational research, such as knowledge gaps and conceptual models.
Agencies and key companies are currently working on a variety of molecules, such as Vasopressin (1A) antagonists and bumetanides as well as oxytocin receptor agonists, each with different mechanisms. Despite these efforts, there is still no definitive evidence that any of these drugs are effective in treating the condition.
Communication & Behavioral Therapies Segment Leads Due to Effective Treatment
By treatment type, the global market is divided into communication & behavioral therapies and drug therapies.
Communication & behavioral therapies accounted for a larger global autism spectrum disorder treatment market share in 2022. The rising prevalence of autism across the globe and the lack of approved drugs are favoring the adoption rate of these therapies. Notably, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) has proven to be more effective than any other treatment. Moreover, hosting different outreach programs, initiatives by service providers for raising awareness of autism, and various crowd-funding activities undertaken by non-profit organizations are propelling market growth. For instance, according to an article published by Behavioral Health Business (BHB), in February 2023, AnswersNow, a provider of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy, raised funding of USD 11.0 million. The company has planned to use this funding to expand its services in the U.S.
The drug therapy segment includes some key drug classes, such as stimulants, SSRIs, antipsychotics, sleep medications, and others. This segment holds a lower share due to a lack of approved medications, mostly including off-label drugs. These medications reduce the frequency and intensity of repetitive behaviors, decrease anxiety, irritability, tantrums, and aggressive behavior, and improve eye contact in people with autism. However, they have side effects and are comparatively less preferred by the patient population.
According to a research article published in Not-for-Profit (NPS) Medicinewise in December 2020, non-drug therapies are the first line of interventions focused on psychological input, social skills groups, peer mentors, and support in education and employment. However, drugs may be added to augment or help with symptoms such as irritability and aggression, with options such as aripiprazole and risperidone being considered.
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Autistic Disorder Segment Dominates Due to its Increasing Prevalence
The global market is segmented by type into autistic disorder, Asperger syndrome, pervasive developmental disorder, and others.
The autistic disorder segment held a dominant market share in the year 2022 owing to the high prevalence of this particular type of disorder. Market players are investing in upscaling their research and development activities to introduce effective treatment options for autistic patients. Pfizer's report highlights that approximately 1 in every 6 to 8-year-old children grapples with autistic disorder. This underscores the urgent requirement for accessible and effective treatments to address this pressing need. Hence, pharmaceutical companies are striving to get approvals for products that can help manage the disorder and reduce its burden on both patients and the industry.
Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) registered a substantial share in 2022 and is expected to register a notable growth rate during the study period. Autism encompasses a wide range of medical issues, with one of its primary symptoms being difficulty in forming social relationships and developing communication abilities. These challenges have been observed in patients even during infancy. Consequently, it is expected that sales of products for PDD will rise in the near future.
On the other hand, segments such as Asperger syndrome and others are estimated to grow with comparatively lower CAGR during the forecast period. This is largely due to limited initiatives for conducting clinical studies for these types of ASD, which contribute to their slower market expansion.
Based on region, the market can be segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East & Africa.
North America Autism Spectrum Disorder Treatment Market 2022 (USD Billion)
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North America market size stood at USD 4.08 billion in 2022. The region’s dominance can be attributed to the increasing prevalence of autism disorder across the U.S. and the growing adoption and uptake of therapies. Moreover, the growing support from private & public organizations to provide insurance coverage for this disease treatment is driving the adoption rate of the therapies across the region. For instance, the State of Arizona in the U.S. provides coverage for medically necessary behavioral therapy services, with a maximum of USD 50,000 maximum per year for eligible persons aged nine and USD 25,000 per year for a person between the ages of 9 to 16 years.
Europe holds the second-largest share in the global market. In this region, the only first line of treatment for ASD is communication and behavioral therapies, especially Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Moreover, there are no approved drugs for autism spectrum disorder treatment in this region, which increases the patient pool for therapies, driving the market growth across the region.
Asia Pacific is projected to grow with the highest CAGR during the forecast period. The government authorities of Asian countries are introducing various policies and programs to reduce the economic burden of this disease and encourage early diagnosis and treatment. For instance, in September 2022, the National Health Commission in China launched the specification for the autism spectrum disorder screening and intervention service for children aged 0–6 years. This service is a part of the Healthy China 2030 project and aims to provide diagnosis, intervention, and rehabilitation services to reduce the effects of autism on the individual, their family, and society.
Latin America and the Middle East & Africa are projected to grow at comparatively lower CAGR during the forecast period. Although the prevalence of ASD is higher in these regions, the lack of provisions and government support for diagnosing and treating the disorder has resulted in slower growth. For instance, according to the World Population Review 2022 data, Qatar has the highest autism rate of 151.2 per 10,000.
Continuous R&D Initiatives and Strategic Acquisitions by Key Players to Surge Sales Growth
The competitive landscape of the global market is highly fragmented, with no single organization exerting singular influence over the market's growth trajectory. Key players in the market of communication & behavioral therapy are the Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Hopebridge, LLC., Applied Behavior Consultants, and others. These service providers are maintaining their market position by expanding their global presence and offering robust autism treatment services.
Major players engaged in drug therapy in the global market with considerable market share include Otsuka Holdings Co. Ltd., H. Lundbeck A/S, and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. These companies are dominant players in the global autism spectrum disorder therapeutics market. Some key contributive factors include a strong distribution network, products with key regulatory approvals, a strong emphasis on R&D initiatives, and strategic initiatives such as acquisitions.
An Infographic Representation of Autism Spectrum Disorder Treatment Market
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The market research report provides a detailed analysis of the industry. It focuses on key aspects such as leading companies and leading segments of the type and treatment. Furthermore, it offers insights into the market trends and highlights the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder in key countries, key industry developments, regulatory frameworks by key countries/regions, global reimbursement scenario and economic cost burden for the treatment of autism spectrum disorder by key countries/regions, and impact of the COVID-19 on the market. In addition to the aforementioned factors, the report encompasses several factors that have contributed to the growth of the developed market in recent years.
CAGR of 8.5% from 2023 to 2030
Value (USD billion)
By Treatment Type
According to Fortune Business Insights, the global market size was USD 6.94 billion in 2022 and is projected to reach USD 13.14 billion by 2030.
In 2022, the North American market size stood at USD 4.08 billion.
Registering a CAGR of 8.5%, the market will exhibit significant growth over the forecast period (2023-2030).
By treatment type, the communication & behavioral therapies segment is expected to lead this market during the forecast period.
The rapidly increasing prevalence of this condition, as well as the increased efforts of governmental bodies to make treatments more accessible, are the key factors driving the market growth.
Otsuka Holdings Co. Ltd. and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. are some of the key players in the market.
North America dominated the market in terms of share in 2022.
Growing investment for accelerating the development and introduction of pipeline candidates as an effective treatment measure is expected to drive the product adoption.
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