GVR Report cover Opioids Market Size, Share & Trends Report

Opioids Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Product (IR/ Short-acting, ER/Long-acting), By Application (Pain Relief, Anesthesia), By Region, And Segment Forecasts, 2020 - 2026

  • Report ID: GVR-2-68038-131-3
  • Number of Pages: 113
  • Format: Electronic (PDF)
  • Historical Range: 2014 - 2018
  • Industry: Healthcare

Industry Insights

The global opioids market size was valued at USD 25.4 billion in 2018 and is projected to expand at a CAGR of 1.8% during the forecast period. Increasing prevalence of diseases that cause chronic pain, such as cancer, postsurgical pain, lower back pain, fibromyalgia, and arthritis, is driving the market.

The market is being strictly regulated by the U.S. FDA due to a substantial number of drug-abuse deaths registered in the country. The FDA has released specific guidelines to manufacture, market, store, and sell opioid products. For instance, removal of OTC cough syrup containing opioids is a result of guidelines set by the regulatory body. In addition, prescription by healthcare professionals is being highly regulated.

U.S. opioids market

Long-term use of opioids can lead to drug addiction and dependency and increase in drug abuse is resulting in high death rates. For instance, according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, in 2014, around 18,893 people died from drug overdose and approximately 10,574 deaths were reported because of heroin overdose.

In 2014, it was reported that more than six out of 10 deaths are due to opioids overdose, which included heroin and opioid pain relievers. The highest deaths were observed due to synthetic variants, which included 5,500 deaths in 2014. Considering the high death rate associated with opioid dependency and abuse, governments in U.S. and other countries advocate against the use of these substances.

In January 2019, Medicare established new opioid prescribing guidelines that will affect Medicare Part D beneficiaries. Part D plans are projected to limit early opioid dispensing to a 7-day supply or less. This guideline will impact Medicare patients who have not filled an opioid prescription lately. If a physician thinks that an opioid inexperienced patient will require more than a 7-day supply, in the beginning, the provider can apply for a coverage determination instead of the patient attesting to the medical need for supply more than 7 days. Thus, the new guidelines are expected to limit the abuse rate in U.S.

Once extensively stigmatized, medical marijuana is now projected as the possible antidote to the epidemic that has led to two-thirds of deaths annually in U.S. Recent studies have observed a substantial decrease in both overdose deaths and drug abuse from prescription painkillers in states where marijuana has been legalized. Pharma and biotech companies believe that medical marijuana products will become the prevailing opioid substitute for chronic pain management and provide a wide variety of other beneficial therapies.

Opioids Market Trends

The increasing prevalence of diseases that cause chronic pain, such as cancer, lower back pain, postsurgical pain, arthritis, and fibromyalgia is driving the opioids market. Opioids have analgesic and sedatives effects and are more commonly used for the management of pain. According to the National Center for Health Statistics Report, published by the CDC, (2020) approximately 20.4% of people had chronic pain and 7.4% of people witnessed recurrent chronic pain in the U.S.

The impact of chronic pain increased with age and was highest among adults aged 65 years and above. Therefore, the rising geriatric population is anticipated to increase the demand for opioid drugs to manage chronic pain. Elder population is at high risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular, arthritis, and cancer. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the geriatric population increased from 1 billion in 2020 to 1.4 billion in 2021. The increase in geriatric population may boost the demand for opioid analgesics in the near future.

Increasing product launches and approval of new opioid drugs for the treatment of chronic pain is expected to drive market growth. For instance, in August 2020, Food and Drug Administration approved Olinvyk (oliceridine) injection developed by Trevena, Inc., for the treatment of adults with severe acute pain. Olinvyk is an opioid agonist administrated intravenously to patients which costs around USD 194 for a supply of 10 mL vial. 

Research in the field of opioid and supportive regulatory policies is also expected fuel the market growth. For instance, in June 2021, the U.S. FDA accepted) and granted priority review designation to new drug application (NDA) submitted by Purdue Pharma L.P. for nalmefene hydrochloride injection. Nalmefene injectable is an opioid antagonist designed to reverse opioid overdose. Successful completion of trial and subsequent approval of product is anticipated to drive market growth. 

However, the side-effects associated with the prolonged use, addiction, and misuse will restrain market growth. According to the WHO, around 0.5 million people died due to misuse of opioids. Of this, approximately 70% of deaths were associated with opioid use and 30% of deaths caused by overdose in 2021. Moreover, the decline in opioid prescriptions in order to control the opioid epidemic in the U.S. population further restrains market growth. According to the Minnesota Department of Health statistics, 80% of opioid prescription drugs are consumed by the U.S. population. 

The launch of non-opioid pain treatment products is further expected to restrain market growth. For instance, in July 2021, Hyloris Pharmaceuticals SA, announced the European launch of its non-opioid pain treatment product Maxigesic IV for the management of post operative pain. Key regulatory bodies are also publishing guidelines to foster the development of non-opioid based pain management drugs.

Product Insights

ER was the largest segment in 2018 owing to its high usage in chronic pain management. However, the abuse and misuse of these drugs have resulted in a serious public health crisis. As a result of this, in September 2018, the U.S. FDA released its final Opioid Analgesic Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) for IR and ER opioids. This plan will help reduce the overall exposure to these drugs and consequently will reduce the addiction rate.

Recently, the U.S. FDA discontinued a wide variety of opioids from the market to limit its abuse in the country. For instance, the U.S. FDA discontinued Vicodin (Hydrocodone) and Percocet (Oxycodone), the most widely prescribed opioids, from the market. In recent years, the decline in opioid prescriptions has been observed. In 2017, the opioid prescription rate reduced by 10.2% from 2016. Hence, these factors are expected to limit the growth of the opioids market over the forecast period.

Application Insights

Based on application, the global market is segmented into pain relief, anesthesia, cough suppression, diarrhea suppression, and de-addiction. In 2018, the pain relief segment dominated the market mainly due to high usage in pain management therapies.

Global opioids market

However, product usage for pain is expected to decline over the forecast period owing to implementation of the new regulatory framework. A new guideline has been designed by the CDC for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain. According to the new guideline, it has been recommended that non-opioid therapy should be preferred for chronic pain other than palliative, end-of-life care, and active cancer.

Regional Insights

North America dominated the opioid market and accounted for the largest revenue share of 64.11% in 2021. The region is anticipated to continue its dominance over the forecast period. This dominance can be attributed to increasing approval of novel opioid-based drugs to meet the growing unmet medical needs in the region. For instance, in May 2020, Hikma Pharmaceuticals launched a generic variety of Buprenex, Buprenorphine Hydrochloride Injection, 0.3mg/mL in the U.S. Buprenorphine HCl Injection is helpful in severe pain management in need of opioid analgesic. Buprenex is prescription opioid medicines used to treat patients with moderate to severe pain and costs around USD 89 for a 5mL.

U.S. has the largest market for opioids owing to strong health care infrastructure, high medical care accessibility, and strong presence of local players. Most common prescription opioids available in the U.S. market are hydrocodone (Vicodin), oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet), Morphine (Kadian, Avinza), Codeine, oxymorphone (Opana), and synthetic opioid like Fentanyl. These drugs are majorly prescribed for preoperative pain management in surgeries. However, the new stricter opioid prescription guidelines to control the opioid epidemic may restrain the market growth.

Canada is expected to witness significant growth in the market due to high spending in public health infrastructure, government initiatives, decrease in medication costs, and growing healthcare expenditure per capita. Canada stands second leading consumer of opioids globally. As of June 2020, about 11.8% of the population used opioid analgesics for pain relieve. Codeine and tramadol are frequently dispensed for the postoperative opioid prescription in surgeries in the region.

According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information and Canadian Pain Task Force report of 2021, 1 in every 5 adults that accounts for 7.6 million population in Canada may suffer from chronic pain. The physical and mental health is significantly impacted by chronic pain in children, adults, and old people. The patients are oftentimes prescribed opioids such as codeine, oxycodone and hydromorphone for the pain management.

Opioids Market Share Insights

Some of the key market players are Purdue Pharma L.P.; Allergan; West-Ward Pharmaceuticals Corporation; Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Pfizer, Inc.; Egalet Corporation; and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Limited. Key players are focusing on expanding their business in different regions to increase their market share.

For Instance, Purdue Pharma is entering rapidly into Asia, Latin America, and Middle East and Africa. The company is organizing awareness programs where doctors are urged to prescribe painkillers to help patients overcome opiophobia.

Opioids Market Report Scope

Report Attribute


Market size value in 2020


Revenue forecast in 2026


Growth rate

CAGR of from 2020 to 2026

Base year for estimation


Historical data

2014 - 2018

Forecast period

2020 - 2026

Quantitative units

Revenue in USD million/billion and CAGR from 2020 to 2026

Report coverage

Revenue forecast, company ranking, competitive landscape, growth factors, and trends

Segments covered

Product, application, and region

Regional scope

North America; Europe; Asia Pacific; Latin America; Middle East & Africa

Country scope

U.S.; Canada; Germany; U.K.; France; Spain; Italy; China; Japan; India; South Korea;
Singapore; Australia; Brazil; Mexico; Argentina; South Africa; UAE; and Saudi Arabia

Key companies profiled

Strategy Framework; Heat Map Analysis of Private Companies; Purdue Pharma L.P; Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; West-Ward Pharmaceuticals Corporation; Pfizer, Inc.; ALLERGAN (Actavis); Sanofi-Aventis S.A.; Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Limited; Grunenthal GmbH

Customization scope

Free report customization (equivalent to up to 8 analyst working days) with purchase. Addition or alteration to country; regional, and segment scope.

Pricing and purchase options

Avail customized purchase options to meet your exact research needs. Explore purchase options


Segments Covered in the Report:

This report forecasts revenue growth at global, regional, and country levels and provides an analysis of the latest industry trends in each of the sub-segments from 2014 to 2026. For the purpose of this study, Grand View Research has segmented the global opioids market report on the basis of product, application, and region:

  • Product Outlook (Revenue, USD Billion, 2014 - 2026)

    • Immediate-release/Short-acting

      • Immediate-release/Short-acting Opioid, by Product

        • Codeine

        • Oxycodone

        • Hydrocodone

        • Fentanyl

        • Morphine

        • Hydroxymorphone

        • Oxymorphone

        • Propoxyphene

        • Other IR

      • Immediate-release/Short-acting Opioid, by Application

        • Pain Relief

        • Anesthesia

        • Cough Suppression

        • Diarrhea Suppression

        • De-addiction

    • Extended-release/Long-acting

      • Extended-release/Long-acting Opioid, by Product

        • Oxycodone

        • Hydrocodone

        • Methadone

        • Fentanyl

        • Morphine

        • Oxymorphone

        • Tapentadol

        • Buprenorphine

        • Hydromorphone

        • Other ER

      • Extended-Release/Long-Acting Opioid, by Application

        • Pain Relief

        • Anesthesia

        • Cough Suppression

        • Diarrhea Suppression

        • De-addiction

  • Application Outlook (Revenue, USD Billion, 2014 - 2026)

    • Pain Relief

      • Cancer Pain

      • Postoperative Pain Management

      • Low-back Pain

      • Orthopedic

      • Neuropathic Pain

      • Fibromyalgia

    • Anesthesia

    • Cough Suppression

    • Diarrhea Suppression

    • De-addiction

  • Regional Outlook (Revenue, USD Billion, 2014 - 2026)
    • North America

      • The U.S.

      • Canada

    • Europe

      • The U.K.

      • Germany

      • France

      • Spain

      • Italy

    • Asia Pacific

      • Japan

      • China

      • India

      • South Korea

      • Singapore

      • Australia

    • Latin America

      • Brazil

      • Mexico

      • Argentina

    • Middle East & Africa

      • South Africa

      • UAE

      • Saudi Arabia

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