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The global allergic conjunctivitis market size was USD 2.40 billion in 2020. The global impact of COVID-19 has been unprecedented and staggering, with allergic conjunctivitis treatments witnessing a negative demand shock across all regions amid the pandemic. Based on our analysis, the global market witnessed a huge decline of -4.0% in 2020. The market is projected to grow from USD 2.50 billion in 2021 to USD 3.60 billion in 2028 at a CAGR of 5.4% in the 2021-2028 period. The sudden rise in CAGR is attributable to this market’s demand and growth returning to pre-pandemic levels once the pandemic is over.
In recent times, the prevalence of ocular allergies has considerably increased due to a number of factors such as rapid urbanization and an increasing number of allergens. Allergic conjunctivitis refers to a common ophthalmic disorder where the conjunctiva of the eye develops an inflammation due to an allergic reaction, a resultant of an individual’s interaction with an allergen. This disease is affecting a significant proportion of the global population but may often be ignored and underdiagnosed, both by the patient and the healthcare professional. This, in turn, diminishes the patient population base seeking treatment for this disorder and often contributes to a reduced quality of life for the patient.
However, increasing awareness is expected to boost the adoption of drugs for ocular conditions during the forecast period. In consideration of these contributive factors, a number of biopharmaceutical companies are planning to invest in R&D initiatives for the development of novel drugs and therapies for the treatment of this disorder. For instance, Zhaoke Ophthalmology Pharmaceutical Limited and IACTA Pharmaceuticals signed an agreement in July 2020 to accelerate the development of drugs called IC 265 and IC 270. The former is developed to treat dry eye and the latter for ocular allergy. Also, a strong influx of generic versions of prominent drugs is likely to create growth opportunities for the global market during the forecast period. Furthermore, the increasing instances of prescription (Rx) drugs to over-the-counter (OTC) switches are also expected to boost this market.
Limited Visits to Ophthalmologists amid COVID-19 to Exert Negative Impact on the Global Market
The novel coronavirus disease was first detected in 2019 and created an unprecedented crisis in healthcare systems across the globe. As a means to curb the spread of infection, several governments across the world implemented strict lockdown and stay-at-home measures. This led to a sharp decline in visits to ophthalmologists, which slowed down the adoption of ocular allergy treatments and revenue realization. In terms of treatment pattern, the treatment for severe eye allergies may often need prescription therapeutics. Hence, the treatment through these prescription drugs entails regular appointments with ophthalmologists as the treatment progresses.
Hence, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on the global market growth as the lockdowns imposed across the world limited the visits to ophthalmologists. At the same time, the market has been experiencing strong trends of sales rebound in the later financial quarters of 2020 due to a number of OTC drug launches in the market. According to Alcon’s financial reportage of FY 2020, the company has witnessed a strong sales decline in the vision care business segment, with a decline of -4.0% in this segment. Ocular allergy therapeutics comes under the sub-segment of ocular health of the vision care business segment. However, the sub-segment of ocular health which comes under the vision care business segments witnessed a flat growth of 1.0% in FY 2020. This improvement was primarily due to the company’s launch of over-the-counter medications for ocular allergies. On the other hand, Bausch & Lomb Incorporated witnessed a pronounced negative impact as global revenues declined by 7.0% in FY 2020 due to the pandemic, driven by lower volumes.
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Significant Number of Prescription (Rx) to Over-the-Counter Switches to Improve Adoption
One of the most prevalent market trends witnessed in the allergic conjunctivitis drugs market is that a number of therapeutics, which were previously only available through prescriptions, are increasingly making the switch to being OTC drugs. There are numerous advantages of this process of switching from a prescription-only to an OTC drug. Some of the advantages of this process include greater availability of more convenient and affordable options, which leads to greater adoption of these therapeutics. For instance, in July 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Alcon’s Pataday Once Daily Relief (olopatadine hydrochloride, 0.7%) to undergo the switch from prescription-only to an over-the-counter drug.
Furthermore, as this process of the switch is monitored by the U.S. FDA, it is considered to be a scientifically rigorous and highly regulated one that enables an increasing number of patients with ocular allergies to have direct access to a growing range of therapeutics. Hence, these new trends are expected to open up a new patient population base for companies engaged in this market and are expected to significantly contribute to the surge of the market in the forecast period.
Growing Patient Population to Fuel Demand for Effective Therapeutics
One of the most crucial and contributive market drivers to the global market growth is the substantial patient population base suffering from ocular allergies. Allergy is a critical medical problem that is estimated to affect more than 15% of the global population. Allergic tendency tends to affect numerous organs of the body and hence, the patient may suffer from symptoms related to multiple organ systems. However, the ocular component is considered to be the most prominent and disabling feature of an allergy as it leads to chronic and disabling symptoms such as itching and watering of the eyes, which leads to significant irritation. The demand for therapeutics in the treatment of such as antihistamines & mast cell stabilizers has increased tremendously over the past few years owing to the substantial growth in the patient population. Numerous research studies have indicated that the prevalence of this condition has considerably increased over the past 40 years.
For instance, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, in 2020, about 50 million individuals in the U.S. suffered from allergic conjunctivitis. The growing prevalence of the disease has led to an increasing focus on the research and development (R&D) of effective therapeutics by major pharmaceutical companies, which is evident from the upcoming strong pipeline of the products. For instance, in November 2020, the pipeline drug candidate of VSJ-110 by Vanda Pharmaceuticals entered the Phase II of clinical trials in the U.S. for the treatment of allergic conjunctivitis. Such developments will further propel market growth in the near future.
Recent Advancements in Ocular Allergy Therapeutics R&D to Augment Market Growth
The overall prevalence of ocular allergy has increased dramatically over the past few decades owing to a number of factors that include rapid urbanization and industrialization coupled with the increase in the number of allergens.
This has led to the engagement of a number of biopharmaceutical companies in R&D initiatives for the development of effective therapeutics for the treatment of this type of conjunctivitis. For instance, as of September 2020, ORA, Inc.’s pipeline drug candidate of PRT-2761 is currently in Phase II of clinical trials for the indication of allergic conjunctivitis. These R&D initiatives are anticipated to lead to robust growth for the market in the forecast period. The anatomy of the eye presents physiological limitations on drug bioavailability, which has led to an intensive interest in the development of new drug delivery technologies. Furthermore, other R&D initiatives for treatment options include over-the-counter antihistamine/mast cell inhibitor ketotifen delivered via a contact lens for ocular allergy. These robust R&D initiatives are expected to lead to considerable market growth opportunities in the future.
Lack of Awareness of Ocular Allergies and Adverse Reactions towards Medications to Hinder Allergic Conjunctivitis Market Growth
Despite a critical and increased need for ocular allergy treatments, the awareness of ocular conditions and eye health is low among the general population. There is a considerable lack of understanding about various symptoms of eye allergies, along with other ocular diseases that can be treated or corrected easily with proper diagnostics and medications. Individuals do not visit ophthalmologists on a regular basis unless there is a major or severe symptomatic condition. The symptoms of eye allergies such as chronic itching are ignored in the majority of the cases and are not accurately diagnosed, which drastically reduces the patient pool that can be treated with prescription drugs.
Adverse reactions to treatments are one of the major restraints restricting the growth of the global market. While in a majority of cases the patients do not experience any fatal or life-threatening symptoms, some adverse reactions such as burning/stinging/irritation of the eye, headache, stuffy/runny nose, bad taste in the mouth, and increased sensitivity to light may occur. Hence, these factors may limit the greater adoption of these therapeutics, leading to diminished market growth in the forecast period.
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Antihistamines & Mast Cell Stabilizers Segment to Grow at Faster Pace
Based on drug class, the global market can be segmented into antihistamines & mast cell stabilizers, corticosteroids, and others.
The antihistamines & mast cell stabilizers segment is anticipated to grow at the fastest pace in the forecast period, which is attributable to their reputation as the gold standard treatment for ocular allergy. Furthermore, new product launches in this segment are also anticipated to further drive the growth of the segment during the forecast period.
The corticosteroids segment accounted for the second-highest market share in 2020, owing to the usage of these medications in severe ocular allergy cases. For instance, corticosteroids are still considered to be amongst the most potent pharmacologic agents used in the treatment of chronic ocular allergy.
The others segment accounted for the lowest allergic conjunctivitis market share in 2020.
Higher Treatment Costs of Severe Allergic Conjunctivitis to Enable the Segment’s Dominance
On the basis of disease type, the market can be segmented into mild and severe.
The severe allergic conjunctivitis segment holds the highest market share for a number of reasons. The treatment of this form of conjunctivitis necessitates the usage of strong and advanced prescription pharmaceuticals over a prolonged period of time. This sharply increases the medical expenditure attributed to the treatment of this type of conjunctivitis, leading to a higher market share of this segment.
The mild allergic conjunctivitis segment accounted for a lower market share in 2020, owing to the comparatively lower treatment costs attributed to this type of disease compared to its severe counterpart.
Online Pharmacies to Grow at the Highest CAGR in 2021-2028
Based on distribution channel, the market is segmented into hospital pharmacies, drug stores & retail pharmacies, and online pharmacies. The hospital pharmacies segment is anticipated to account for the largest market share during the forecast period. The dominance of the segment is attributable to the fact that the majority of the ocular allergy medications can only be prescribed after thorough examinations by trained medical professionals at these institutions.
The drug stores & retail pharmacies segment accounted for the second-highest market in 2020, owing to the rising demand for the over-the-counter (OTC) medications for ocular allergy in these settings.
The online pharmacies segment is expected to witness the highest growth rate because of the convenience and ease in terms of the procurement of ocular allergy drugs.
North America Allergic Conjunctivitis Market Size, 2020 (USD Billion)
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On the basis of region, the global market can be segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East & Africa.
The market size in North America stood at USD 1.16 billion in 2020 and is anticipated to continue to dominate the global market share during the forecast period. This is attributable to the widespread awareness of ocular allergies in the region, the strong prevalence of this disease in the region, and the presence of major players resulting in the launches of advanced drugs. For instance, according to an estimate published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), in 2013, it was estimated that up to 20% of the population in the U.S. was affected by the condition. This, coupled with the presence of positive reimbursement policies in the U.S., is the primary cause for this region’s dominance.
Europe is anticipated to emerge as the second-largest region in the global market owing to the rising potential patient population in the region, coupled with the increasing usage of sophisticated drugs. For instance, according to the British Journal of Ophthalmology, seasonal allergic conjunctivitis (SAC) is the commonest and one of the mildest forms of allergic conjunctivitis occurring in the United Kingdom. It accounts for 25.0%–50.0% of all cases of ocular allergy and is estimated to affect between 10.0% and 15.0% of the UK population. Such strong trends in prevalence are anticipated to further contribute to the growth of the market in the country.
The Asia Pacific market is expected to register the highest CAGR due to rising awareness, coupled with substantial improvements in healthcare expenditure and a growing prevalence of ocular allergies in the region. For instance, according to Clinical Epidemiology and Global Health in 2019, in India, the prevalence of eye allergies was estimated to be 12.22%. The prevalence was estimated to be more in males (13.44%) than females (10.71%). Such trends are expected to contribute to the growth of the country’s market in the forecast period.
The other regions such as Latin America & the Middle East & Africa accounted for a comparatively lower market share in the forecast period. However, the increased market presence of prominent companies and a large proportion of the population suffering from ocular allergies in these regions are expected to lead to growth in the future. For instance, according to epidemiological studies, it has been estimated that the prevalence of ocular allergy in Mexico was approximately 16.7%. This high prevalence of ocular allergies is particularly witnessed in tropical or hot climates.
Robust Product Portfolio of Leading Players to Ensure Apex Position
In terms of the competitive landscape, the market is monopolistic in nature due to the presence of key players of various sizes, with a number of players targeting the generic drugs space for the treatment of eye allergies. In the present scenario, Allergan (AbbVie Inc.), Bausch & Lomb, and Alcon are dominating the global market, accounting for a strong market revenue share. This is primarily owing to the presence of a strong product portfolio. For instance, widely adopted products include Lastacaft in Allergan’s portfolio, Bepreve in Bausch & Lomb’s portfolio, and SYSTANE ZADITOR in Alcon’s portfolio.
Further, companies such as Sun Pharmaceuticals and Alembic Pharmaceuticals Limited are increasing their presence in the global market by focusing on product approvals and the launch of generic versions of existing drugs. In addition, emerging players such as Ocular Therapeutix, Inc. and Eton Pharmaceutical are also aiming to gain regulatory approvals for their pipeline candidates and this is expected to enable them to increase their revenues during the forecast period.
An Infographic Representation of Allergic Conjunctivitis Market
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The global allergic conjunctivitis market research report provides detailed market analysis and focuses on key aspects such as the prevalence of allergic type of conjunctivitis by key countries, pipeline analysis, and key industry developments. Additionally, it includes an overview of new product launches, allergy – statistics and factors, and the impact of COVID-19 on the global market. Besides these, the report offers insights into market trends and highlights key strategies by market players. In addition to the aforementioned factors, the report encompasses several factors that have contributed to the growth of the market over recent years.
Value (USD Billion)
By Drug Class
By Disease Type
By Distribution Channel
Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 2.40 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 3.60 billion by 2028.
In 2020, North America stood at USD 1.16 billion.
Growing at a CAGR of 5.4%, the market will exhibit steady growth in the forecast period (2021-2028).
The antihistamines & mast cell stabilizers segment is expected to be the leading segment in this market during the forecast period.
The increasing prevalence of ocular allergies, the launch of new allergic type of conjunctivitis medications, and the increasing focus on switches from prescription drugs to over-the-counter (OTC) medications are the major factors driving the growth of the market.
Allergan (AbbVie Inc.), Bausch & Lomb, and Alcon are some of the major players in the global market.
North America dominated the market in 2020.
The increasing demand for these conjunctivitis drugs, growing awareness regarding ocular allergies, and new product launches of over-the-counter (OTC) medications are expected to drive the adoption of the products.
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