With the increasing global population, the incidence rates of several chronic disease indications, such as diabetes, heart disorders, neurological disorders and oncological disorders, are on the rise. This has led to a rise in the demand for effective treatment options for patients suffering from these diseases. Further, in order to improve the quality of life in these patients, companies have developed novel devices capable of delivering a variety of formulations of different drugs / therapies, in an efficient and relatively simple manner. The emerging trend of self-injection has been dubbed as a win-win scenario for both patients and healthcare professionals. In addition to being user-friendly and convenient for patients, it saves on healthcare resources and costs by facilitating a lower-cost method to administer medicines, making self-injection system much more cost effective. Additionally, it lowers costs associated with needlestick injuries by minimizing the risk to a great extent. The US healthcare industry is reported to endure the cost burden of more than USD 1 billion every year due to these injuries. As a result, large volume wearable injectors have shown a lot of promise to address this problem.
Various Types of Drug Delivery Devices
There are various types of drug delivery devices, particularly self-injection systems, focusing mostly on large volume wearable injectors. There are various aspects, such as regulatory considerations that companies focus on while developing / marketing such products, including a detailed set of guidelines that have been issued by regulatory bodies for drug-device combination products. There are various modes of administration through which drugs are delivered include oral, intravenous, subcutaneous, transdermal and intramuscular routes. The route of delivery is chosen considering the impact that it might have on both the efficacy of drug and patient safety. A drug delivery device is primarily used to facilitate the administration of therapeutic molecules in an easy and convenient manner.
Growth Rate in Adoption of Wearable Injectors
Over the past few years, there has been an evident shift towards the self-administration of drugs / therapies. This is largely attributed to the availability of various self-injection devices that offer several advantages, such as dosing related flexibilities, reduced need to frequently visit clinics and enhanced adherence to therapy. In addition, such dosing options are even preferred by those who have a morbid fear of needles. Consequently, there is a growing need for such devices, and pharmaceutical companies are presently engaged in designing and developing self-injection technologies for both commercialized and pipeline therapeutics. There are multiple factors which are driving the growth of large volume wearable injectors.
Large volume wearable injectors are the most focused one and their demand in the market is increasing with the pace of time. They are small, portable wearable devices, which permit the administration of large volumes (more than 1 mL) of drugs / therapeutic substances, including complex biologics. These are designed to facilitate the subcutaneous administration of medications that are required to be delivered over a prolonged period in the homecare setting. These are attached directly to the skin and feature an integrated prefilled drug reservoir, a sterile fluid path and needle system. They are based on patient friendly designs in which the patient simply inserts the drug vial or cartridge into the system. Then, the device is placed on the body, and it starts injecting the drug with the press of a button in most of the devices. The drug is automatically and comfortably delivered at a pre-programmed flow rate into the subcutaneous tissue over a timeframe that can range from multiple time durations based on the requirement of the patient and associated disease condition. After completion of the drug delivery, the needle is automatically retracted and locked out because almost all of the devices are now equipped with automatic systems. Once the drug is delivered, the user is notified with audible, visual, and tactile feedback.
Device developers are actively making efforts to introduce safety mechanisms in self-injecting devices to make them safe for use and disposal. In all injector devices, such as large volume wearable injectors, the syringe and needle are usually hidden from view. The needle can be released at the time of administration at the press of a button. In compliance with laws and legislations for the prevention of needlestick injuries, most large volume wearable injectors have an integrated safety device. Further, the device developers are collaborating with digital health companies for integration of drug delivery devices with mobile applications. The primary goal behind this is include patient focus design elements with the disease related information (dose calculation, history of uptake and others) to optimize therapeutic outcomes and to improve medication adherence.
The industry is constantly evolving in the space of drug delivery with emergence of more convenient and patient compliant systems. As the number of commercially available biologics increase, the need for novel delivery devices is also expected to elevate. The historical trends of the existing delivery devices, such as prefilled syringes, autoinjectors and insulin pumps, suggest a strong demand in the market. The large volume wearable injectors market is expected to follow a similar growth trend as more patients shift from conventional to user-friendly drug delivery alternatives.
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