Therapeutic Areas

Chondroitin sulphate: an IBSA success story

Among the osteoarticular disorders – which affect about 10% of the world population – one of the most disabling is osteoarthritis (OA). It’s one of the main causes of disability in the world, affecting around 40 million people in Europe alone. Finding an effective therapeutic solution for such a widespread disease is a challenge that IBSA took up four decades ago, and which turned into a success story.


Characterised by a loss of articular cartilage, osteoarthritis is a chronic disease that affects the knee, hip, shoulder and hand joints in particular. According to recent estimates (Allen 2022), at least 240 million people worldwide (10% of men and 18% of women over 60) live with symptomatic osteoarthritis.

The causes of this condition are not yet fully known, and its incidence is not linked only to aging; indeed, several factors contribute to the onset or progression of the disease, including sedentary lifestyle, overweight, obesity and joint overload.


The introduction on the market of chondroitin sulphate has improved the therapeutic approach to this condition. In fact, before its advent, patients were treated exclusively with paracetamol to relieve pain. The success of this molecule lies in its effectiveness, since it acts both on the pain and on the slowing down of the degeneration of the articular cartilage.

IBSA has always been committed to finding effective therapeutic solutions, using cutting-edge technologies to develop care systems that are more functional to the real needs of people. With the aim of developing “drugs in the best form” for its patients, IBSA has therefore continued to study new possible formulations of chondroitin sulphate, and to invest in order to produce innovative drugs, optimising the extraction and purification of this molecule, so as to obtain pharmaceutical products of excellence, with high degrees of purification, equal to almost 99%. The purification issue is critical: it’s been shown that the formulation of chondroitin sulphate, when pure, can have a precise biochemical and biological action on the inflammation and cellular homeostasis processes, leading to potential beneficial effects on joint tissues.

IBSA launched its first chondroitin sulphate-based product 40 years ago: 4 decades of successes, which we celebrated on March 30 with an internal event that was also a great opportunity to share a pleasant moment of conviviality!