Over the last few years, the pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals markets have been revolutionised. These changes can be attributed to the expiry of some of the most important patents on the pharma market, and the decrease in margins on some medicines caused by new European regulations. Pharma companies are looking for new business opportunities and have turned their attention to the nutraceuticals industry.
For pharma companies, the average cost involved in bringing a medicine to the market is astronomical and time to market is currently 10 years. The nutraceutical market is much more flexible. The amount of investment needed to develop and launch a nutraceutical product is much more dynamic and market research suggests sales of nutraceuticals will continue to increase. Because of this market potential and more flexible regulation, some of the larger pharma companies have already launched nutraceutical products to complement their portfolios.
Despite the forecasted growth, problems still exist with nutraceutical products. A high percentage of the functional foods and ingredients have not been fully tested and lack clinical evidence—this is one of the greatest impediments for the sector. If products lack scientific basis, practitioners will not prescribe them. At the same time, the European Food Safety Authority has only authorised the use of 222 health claims—given the huge number of ingredients available, this insufficiency remains one of the greatest challenges in the industry. Because of this, companies are investing resources in clinical trials to substantiate the health benefits of their products.
It can be argued that for both industries to succeed, the pharma and nutra companies will need to invest in new ‘double vision’ profiles to discover new products and introduce them to both markets effectively.
 Ltd http://pmfarma.es/articulos/219-nutraceuticos.-alimentos-o-medicamentos.html; Nick Hawker, director ejecutivo, Vitafoods International