Gaps in the market for treatment of mental health disorders

brain image depicting treatment of mental health disorders

World Mental Health Day 2018 is a time for reflection and education; the treatment of mental health disorders has improved drastically and the stigma associated with these indications has been stripped away considerably. However, there is still a long way to go to address the gaps in the market, says GlobalData.

Mental health is a broad term that encompasses a variety of mental disorders, each with different manifestations, the most well-known being; depression, schizophrenia, and anxiety but also includes other indications such as dementia, developmental disorders, and other psychoses; often these indications will overlap which lead to further degradation of a patient’s mental health. According to GlobalData’s reports: PharmaPoint: Schizophrenia and PharmaPoint: Major Depressive Disorder, some unmet needs, such as the need for more effective and safer treatments, are similar across the indications and can be addressed through increased funding and research.

Rahael Maladwala, Pharma Analyst at GlobalData, commented: “Mental health has a huge social and economic burden on patients, with one in six adults reported to have a common mental health disorder. Over the last decade, there have been several outreach and educational programs that have helped to reduce the stigma surrounding these disorders and patients are now receiving more adequate care, however, there is still more that can be done. Pharmaceutical companies are now seeing these gaps in the market and commissioning research into the etiology and pathophysiology of these indications to better understand how they work and developing drugs that target the root cause of these diseases.

“Clinical research is not the only trend that is being used to address the gaps in the market; this is where the creativity of pharmaceutical companies comes into play. There have been several digital approaches that are being trialled to help meet some of the unmet needs for some of these indications; examples of this include Otsuka’s use of a digital sensor in a pill used for schizophrenia treatment to improve compliance, Takeda and Cognition Kits have partnered to develop an app synced to a piece of wearable technology which monitors MDD patients, and several companies are using artificial intelligence to help identify potential drug targets for these disorders. The use of technology is helping to revolutionise patient care, right from drug discovery to drug delivery.”

World Mental Health Day 2018 is one of the key profile raising events that has helped to remove the stigma associated with mental health; but in order to fully address the gaps in the market we need to look forward instead of backwards. Pharmaceutical companies are now doing that, increasing the amount of research in these indications, and embracing the use of technology to improve patient care, and ultimately the future is looking brighter for mental health patients.