With increasing Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations, major patent expiries and generic competition cutting future potential revenue there is no saturation of drug development, there is instead the opposite - but one area shows potential growth: drug delivery systems.

Among the 15 drug delivery systems surveyed by Frost&Sullivan for their Drug Delivery Technology: End-User Preferences, Utilization and Perceptions analysis, physicians preferred topical delivery, either as a transdermal patch or topical gel/cream, and expressed willingness to switch their current mode of therapy to one available in these forms.

The results were that regardless of disease area, physicians select drug delivery methods that drive consistent patient compliance and effective outcomes. The survey traces usage patterns, analyzes preferences and opportunities among physicians and patients, and assesses their willingness to switch therapies based on the drug delivery method.


Delivery Method

Disease Type

Oral drug delivery

Type 1 diabetes

Nasal drug delivery

Type 2 diabetes

Transdermal drug delivery


Topical drug delivery

Deep vein thrombosis

Subcutaneous injection (autoinjector)

Arterial thrombosis

Subcutaneous injection (prefilled syringe)

Atrial fibrillation/arrhythmia

Intramuscular injection (autoinjector)

Ischemic heart disease

Intramuscular injection (prefilled syringe)


Intradermal injection

Multiple Sclerosis

Intravenous injection


Intravenous infusion


Implantable infusion pump

Alzheimer's disease

External infusion pump



Ulcerative colitis

Rectal drug delivery

Crohn's disease


Rheumatoid arthritis

The route of administration and drug delivery technology has a huge bearing on the adoption of, and compliance with, new as well as existing drugs. Among the surveyed physicians, only a quarter were considered early adopters of new drug delivery forms. Accordingly, manufacturers must listen to actual selection criteria and level of satisfaction data collected from end-users to find commercial success among medical practitioners.

"All things considered, physicians usually lean toward the treatment they feel will be most acceptable to their patients in order to ensure good compliance," said Frost&Sullivan Vice President of Global Research Monali Patel Shastry.

These indicators are highly relevant in the current market scenario, wherein medication adherence is a growing concern, with momentous medical and economic consequences.

"When selecting the optimal drug delivery method, reimbursement incentives for improving adherence and impact on formulary decisions are proven to be important factors," noted Frost & Sullivan Life Sciences Senior Industry Analyst Deborah Toscano. "Drug development pipelines are full of innovative drugs and biologics, and differentiation is increasingly important in this crowded market to gain and maintain market share."

It is important to note the drivers of satisfaction and selection are not always the same across diseases and methods. For example, the several novel oral therapies for multiple sclerosis recently introduced offer significant advantages over the standard of care injectable therapies. However, more than 55 percent of physicians treating multiple sclerosis are likely to switch from the currently prescribed branded drug if the drug were available in a transdermal patch form, while 54 percent of the physicians treating migraines would prefer to switch to a drug using nasal administration.

This is in line with the 58 percent of multiple sclerosis patients willing to use a transdermal patch, and 50 percent of migraine patients willing to use a nasally administered drug. Further, 57 percent of physicians treating type 2 diabetes are most willing to switch from oral or injectable drugs to a topical treatment.