Jump in diabetes rates ignites pharma warfare

The battle over the diabetes drug market has raged for some time now, but fighting grew intense over the past week as drugmakers unveiled new evidence about the benefits of their treatments over others. Industry warriors descended on the big American Diabetes Association meeting in Philadelphia last weekend, pushing their study data about the latest weapons against the rising problem of diabetes around the world.

As a Fox Business report shows, the slew of data left some major forces in the diabetes market bloodied. Take Merck ($MRK) and Sanofi ($SNY). Danish diabetes specialist Novo Nordisk ($NVO) struck a blow with study data showing that its experimental long-lasting insulin bested Sanofi's blockbuster Lantus. Merck's diabetes drug Januvia took shots from both Sanofi and Novo in separate studies involving marketed drugs from all of those companies.

The companies are warring over stakes in the fast-growing market for diabetes drugs, brought on by scary increases in rates of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes in the United States and elsewhere. Doctors have been reaching for new drugs such as Novo and Amylin Pharmaceuticals' ($AMLN) GLP-1 treatments and tools to combat the disease. And, as many know, growth in the market has helped drive interest from a group of Big Pharma battlers in buying Amylin.  

The ferocity of the competition "is intensifying with new drug development, new drug classes that are increasing competition for both insulin and noninsulin and new entrants coming into the market," said Damien Conover, an analyst at Morningstar, as quoted by Fox.

The industry will also be keeping a close eye on the U.S. Supreme Court's decision regarding President Obama's healthcare reform, which is expected to bring more diabetic patients in need of treatment into the system.

- check out Fox's article