The global opioids market was worth US$33.9 bn in 2014, says Persistence Market Research. North America contributed the largest revenue to the market – accounting for 65% of the total – followed by Europe, which contributed almost 20% of the revenue in 2014. In North America, opioids are widely used for palliative care, which is the foremost reason for the large revenue contribution of the region. Easy availability of a large range of opioids over the counter not regulated for their abusive consumption and unregulated prescriptions by physicians are contributing to this.

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Utility in End-stage Disease Management Helps Opioids Market

In developed countries such as the U.S., the increasing geriatric pool of patients suffering from terminal conditions accounts for the high utilization of opioids. Opioids are a type of narcotics that are used to treat moderate to acute pain, majorly for cancer pain management and terminal stage diseases that require palliative care. In these countries, increasing palliative care facilities have augmented the progression of the opioids market. This includes reformed regulations for prescription opioids and favorable reimbursement policies for the medication. Nevertheless, to keep a check on the unrestrained use of the medication, generic manufacturers are focusing on developing abuse-deterrent formulations (ADF). This will help the opioids market ward off the negative perception of opioids due to the social and personal damage caused by their abuse.

Asia Pacific will emerge as the fastest growing market for opioids in the near future. Some of the reasons for this are the rising awareness for cancer pain management, reformed regulations for prescription opioids, and increased focus on palliative care. However, the development of the Asia Pacific opioids market is impeded by certain reasons as well. With the increasing education level in the region, progressive societies are recognizing the ill-effects on health due to long-term consumption of opioid medication. In the developing countries of China and India, distribution and commercial use of opioids and similar medication is under strict vigilance, which limits the use of these drugs. In these countries, lack of awareness about palliative care also contributes to the slow growth of the opioids market.

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Synthetic Opioids to Dominate Global Opioids Market

Morphine opioids are the largest product segment of the global opioids market; this product segment held a share of almost 36% in the global market in 2014. Synthetic opioids such as meperidine, fentanyl, and methadone are expected to exhibit an increased demand in the future due to their potency to act as opioid substitutes and lower risk of side-effects than natural opioids. Fentanyl synthetic opioids will register the fastest growth, at a CAGR of 4.7% for the 2015-2021 period.

Analgesia, diarrheal suppression, and cough suppression are the major segments of the opioids market on the basis of application. Within the analgesia application segment, anesthesia, injury or trauma, surgical pain, pain due to diseases, and cancer pain are the major applications of opioids. This application segment held a share of close to 67% in the overall market in 2014 and will register a CAGR of 3.3% for the 2015-2021 period.