Market trends of bone and joint care: an overview


Laura Gatti 
QuintilesIMS, Milan, Italy


An ageing population combined with lifestyle choices and illnesses are the primary reasons for problems with joints and bones. The costs in terms of healthcare expenditures are huge.
Joint pains are treated using therapies ranging from painkillers and/or muscle relaxants, antidepressants and anti-epileptics to injections of hyaluronic acid and supplements. Osteoporosis treatments include calcium, Vitamin D supplements and bisphosphonates. Top European countries are witnessing a decreasing trend in this area. Nevertheless, vitamin D, calcium and other supplements markets are growing (Figure 1).
Pharmaceutical treatments for pain differ significantly in Europe. Our country ranks at the bottom among the top EU5 (Spain, UK, Germany, France and Italy) for painkiller consumption however, therapeutic choices seem to lean in favour of opioids.


Osteoporosis, literally “porous bone”, is an illness characterized by weak bones. Bone fractures are the most important consequences of this condition and in fact one in three women and one in five men over the age of fifty worldwide will experience a form of osteoporotic fracture during their lifetime. These events, mainly hip and spine fractures, are associated with pain, disability and, for the more serious fracture types, even death.

For these reasons, osteoporosis is one of the main critical healthcare issues. According to the World Health Organization, it affects approximately 22 million women and 5.5 million men aged between 50-84 years.

Due to demographic evolution, this figure (27.5 million in 2010) is predicted to rise to approximately 34 million in 2025 (+25%). 

In the EU in 2010, the cost of osteoporosis, including pharmacological intervention was estimated at €37 billion of which two thirds is related to the treatment of the fractures, 29% to long term care fracture (hospitalization and rehabilitative care) and only 5% to prevention (1).

Effective treatments ha ...