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Thin Film Drugs Market Size, Share & COVID-19 Impact Analysis, By Drug Type (Oral Thin Film Drugs and Transdermal Thin Film Drugs), By Disease Indication (Schizophrenia, Migraine, Opioid Dependence, and Others), By Distribution Channel (Hospital Pharmacy, Retail Pharmacy, and Online Pharmacy) and Regional Forecast, 2021-2028

Last Updated: April 29, 2024 | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI104883



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The global thin film drugs market size was valued at USD 7.35 billion in 2020 and is projected to grow from USD 8.16 billion in 2021 to USD 16.27 billion in 2028, exhibiting a CAGR of 10.5% in the 2021-2028 period. Based on our analysis, the market exhibited a slight increase of 2.1% in 2020. The impact of COVID-19 has been unprecedented and staggering, with thin-film therapeutics witnessing a stable demand across all regions amid the pandemic. The fall in CAGR is attributable to the market returning to pre-pandemic levels once the pandemic is over.

Thin-film drug delivery is an upcoming form of drug administration that is an advanced alternative to traditional forms such as capsules, tablets, and liquids. This emerging drug delivery system is currently researched by pharmaceutical companies around the globe as a novel form of drug administration tool. Pharmaceutical and pharmacological properties of the drug have to be extensively researched to develop the formulation of a thin film. This kind of drug delivery has proved beneficial in individuals who have trouble swallowing tablets and experience nausea or vomiting. The upcoming drug delivery method is gaining traction due to its fast dissolving nature and increasing patent life cycle of existing products. Additionally, the currently dissolving dental buccal film drugs are also gaining popularity in the industry.

COVID-19 Pandemic to Negatively Impact the R&D Activities of Thin Film Therapeutics

The sudden outbreak of COVID-19 in various countries across the world has significantly impacted the research and development and operational capabilities of pharmaceutical companies. The increased focus on developing medicines and vaccines against COVID-19 has led to this disruption in R&D activities. However, the growth of sales of the thin-film drug has remained unchanged during the pandemic. Companies such as Zim Laboratories experienced a slight dip in sales revenue in the first two quarters of 2020. However, the company's revenue was regained and showed significant improvement in the next half of 2020.


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Focus on Mergers, Acquisitions, and Collaborations by Key Players is a Vital Trend

The thin film drugs market has a significant growth potential in the forthcoming years owing to the increasing adoption of the drug type. This market potential is recognized by key players, and they are actively engaging in the expansion of research and development to gain more share. For instance, in September 2019, XPhyto Therapeutics closed the acquisition of Vektor Pharma TF GmbH. With this acquisition, XPhyto now owns all the developmental drugs, such as thin-film therapeutics, particularly transdermal patches developed by Vektor Pharma.


Increasing Research and Development in Thin Film Drugs to Augment Market Growth

The global market is driven by various factors. However, the predominant aspect that is estimated to drive the market is the advancements in this novel drug delivery. Various companies around the globe are focusing on investment in this emerging form of drug delivery owing to a rise in popularity. Key startup companies are particularly focusing on thin-film drug delivery routes for cannabis-based drugs.

For instance, XPhyto Pharma is currently developing 13 drugs utilizing the thin film drug delivery method. As of February 2021, all of its products are currently in Phase II clinical trials in European countries. At present, the generic form of Rivastigmine is being evaluated by XPhyto Pharma in Phase 2 clinical trial to treat Alzheimer’s. Another factor anticipated to influence the market's growth is adopting thin-film drug delivery methods to extend the patent of key molecules by major players in the market.

Rising Geriatric Population to Propel the Market Growth

The rising adoption of thin-film therapeutics among the older population of the world is increasing owing to the ease of administration of such therapeutics. As a result, key players are also focusing on these drug delivery methods for diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s predominant in the geriatric population. Hence, an increase in the geriatric population worldwide could tremendously benefit the market's growth in the upcoming years. According to the World Population Prospects, one in six people will be over 65 in 2050 compared to one in 11 in 2019.


Limited Penetration and Research in Emerging Countries to Hamper Growth

The market is currently dominated by regions populated with developed countries such as the U.S., Germany, and Japan. Due to the high cost associated with thin-film drug development, there is currently limited adoption and research in drug delivery in evolving economic countries such as China, India, and Brazil. The development of thin-film therapeutics requires higher investment and funding, which seems to be lacking in companies operating in developing countries, such as Brazil, India, and China.


By Drug Type Analysis

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Oral Thin Film Drugs Segment Held the Highest Market Share in 2020

Based on drug type, the market is categorized into oral thin film (OTF) drugs and transdermal film drugs.

The global oral thin film therapeutics segment dominated the market in 2020. This is attributed to the higher revenue sales generated by these drugs in the market by key players. The segment is also anticipated to witness considerable growth during 2021-2028 owing to the increasing number of pipeline products under development that will be launched in the market in the upcoming years. Innovations in buccal cavity oral thin films drugs are also estimated to boost the thin film drugs market growth.

The transdermal thin film drugs segment generated a lower share in 2020. However, upcoming therapies focusing on transdermal thin film delivery is projected to bolster the demand for the product in the near future. Transdermal thin film delivery development, especially in the domain of pain management, is estimated to benefit the drug type significantly in the upcoming years.

By Disease Indication Analysis

Schizophrenia Segment to Garner Maximum Share during the Forecast Period

Based on the disease indication, the market is segmented into schizophrenia, migraine, opioid dependence, and others.

The market was predominantly dominated by the schizophrenia and migraine segments in 2020. The drug delivery is highly adopted in patients suffering from schizophrenia owing to underlying factors such as the difficulty in swallowing tablets and liquids, fast absorption of the drug into the mucosal membrane, and ease of administration. The drug delivery type is also popular among patients suffering from migraine attributed to its effectiveness and quick action to relieve pain.

By Distribution Channel Analysis

Retail Pharmacy Segment Dominated the Market in 2020

Based on the categorization of distribution channels, the market of thin film drugs was segregated into retail pharmacies, hospital pharmacies, and others.

The retail pharmacy segment dominated the market in terms of revenue in 2020. The factors influencing the dominance of this segment were the higher availability of drug products through retail channels. The majority of products under the thin film drug delivery model are generic molecules and are hence widely available in the retail pharmacy. However, the increasing adoption of online pharmacy and mail order pharmacy is expected to drive the growth of the others segment in the market.


North America Thin Film Drugs Market Size, 2020 (USD Billion)

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North America generated a revenue of USD 2.66 billion in 2020 and will witness significant market growth over the forecast period. The growth is attributable to the adoption of thin-film drugs in the region. Additionally, the increasing prevalence of schizophrenia in developed countries such as the U.S. is estimated to augment the market growth in the region in the upcoming years. According to various published sources, 1 in every 10,000 individuals in the U.S. is diagnosed with schizophrenia. This is attributed to the higher awareness and larger diagnosis rate of the disease indication in the country. Combined with this, a similar trend in the rise of neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s are witnessed in the United States of America.

The growth of the market in Europe is influenced by various factors such as the increasing prevalence of Parkinson’s disease. Additionally, the larger research and development activities on thin-film drugs are estimated to propel the market growth in countries of the European region. Combined with this, the higher government funding for innovative drug delivery models is anticipated to positively drive the market in the upcoming years.

Meanwhile, Asia-Pacific market is projected to witness stable growth during the forecast period. Factors such as the presence of a larger geriatric patient pool and growing healthcare spending and infrastructure supplement the growth of the market in this region. The increasing awareness of thin-film therapeutics is anticipated to drive the market during the forecast period.

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The countries of Latin America and the Middle East & Africa are continually engaging in augmenting the access to treatment options to their citizens. Moreover, substantial developments in the public and private healthcare sectors are likely to increase the growth of the market in these regions.


The Market is Semi Consolidated with Only Five Major Players

The global market shows moderate competition, with key companies such as Pfizer, Inc., Novartis AG, Aquestive Therapeutics, Allergan plc., and ZIM Laboratories Limited leading the market. A strong pipeline of molecules, mergers, acquisitions, and innovative product launches are chief strategies adopted by these key market players to gain higher customer reach. Other players involved in the market are Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma Co.Ltd., IntelGenx Corp, Wolters Kluwer, and XPhyto Pharma, among others.


  • Pfizer, Inc.(U.S.)

  • Allergan (Ireland)

  • ZIM Laboratories Limited (India)

  • Novartis AG (Switzerland)

  • Aquestive Therapeutics (U.S)

  • Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma Co. Ltd. (Japan)

  • IntelGenx Corp (Canada)

  • Wolters Kluwer (Netherlands)

  • XPhyto Pharma (Germany)

  • Other Prominent Players      


  • June 2020: Zim Laboratories received the U.S. patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office for its oral thin film formulation.

  • September 2020: XPhyto Pharma announced the advancement of an oral disintegrating drug development program in the human bioavailability study. The company announced the results are expected by the end of the first quarter of 2021.


An Infographic Representation of Thin Film Drugs Market

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The market research report provides qualitative and quantitative insights on the industry and detailed analysis with market size and growth rate for all possible market segments. Along with this, it provides an elaborative analysis of the market dynamics and competitive landscape. Various key market insights provided in the report are the number of key industry developments, key industry trends, pipeline analysis, regulatory scenario, and analysis of COVID-19 on the global market, among others.

Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period



Value (USD billion)


Drug Type, Disease Indication, Distribution Channel, and Region

By Drug Type


  • Oral Thin Film Drugs

  • Transdermal Thin Film Drugs

By Disease Indication


  • Schizophrenia

  • Migraine

  • Opioid Dependence

  • Others

By Distribution Channel


  • Hospital Pharmacy

  • Retail Pharmacy

  • Others

By Geography


  • North America

    • By Drug Type

    • By Disease Indication

    • By Distribution Channel

    • By Country

      • USA

      •  Canad

  • Europe

    • By Drug Type

    • By Disease Indication

    • By Distribution Channel

    • By Country

      • UK

      • Germany

      • France

      • Italy

      • Spain

      • Scandinavia

      • Rest of Europe

  • Asia Pacific

    • By Drug Type

    • By Disease Indication

    • By Distribution Channel

    • By Country

      • Japan

      • China

      • India

      • Australia

      • Southeast Asia

      • Rest of Asia Pacific

  • Latin America

    • By Drug Type

    • By Disease Indication

    • By Distribution Channel

    • By Country

      • Brazil

      • Mexico

      • Rest of Latin America

  • Middle East & Africa

    • By Drug Type

    • By Disease Indication

    • By Distribution Channel

    • By Country

      • GCC

      • South Africa

      • Rest of MEA


Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 7.35 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 16.27 billion by 2028.

In 2020, the North American market value stood at USD 2.66 billion.

The market will exhibit a stunning CAGR of 10.5% during the forecast period (2021-2028).

The oral segment dominated the global market in 2020.

The increasing research and development in thin-film drugs is projected to drive the growth of the market.

Pfizer, Inc., Novartis AG, Aquestive Therapeutics, Allergan plc., and ZIM Laboratories Limited are the major players in the global market.

North America dominated the market in terms of share in 2020.

New product launches are expected to drive the adoption of thin-film therapeutics.

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