How China is getting serious about developing quality drugs right at home
- Beijing is seeking to grow a stronger domestic biopharma industry by supporting R&D, clamping down on corruption, and working to speed up its drug-approval process, Reuters reports.
- China's nascent domestic market has seen strong growth recently. The top 10 Chinese biopharma companies saw sales grow an average of 12% this year, according to IMS Consulting.
- Chinese hospitals have relied on so-called 'branded generics,' or off-patent Western brand drugs. Sold at a mark-up, these drugs might comprise as much as 40 % to 50% of hospital revenues. China now plans on eliminating this mark-up practice.
This year, the Chinese pharma market is expected to have roughly $63 billion in sales—more than in Brazil, Russia, and India combined. However, much of those sales are from Chinese subsidiaries of multinational companies. For example, Novo Nordisk accounts for roughly 63% of insulin sales in China—where 110 million type 2 diabetes patients reside. However, with new reforms underway, including aggressive quality-control efforts by the Chinese Food and Drug Administration (CDFA), local generics companies are starting to compete for market share.
This is not to say Chinese biopharma companies are not collaborative. In fact, much of the research happening in Shanghai, a bioscience center, involves domestic companies and multinationals working jointly.
Chinese biopharma companies such as Sino Biopharmaceutical, Shanghai Fosun, and 3SBio are leading the way for the domestic market. BeiGene, a company specializing in oncology development, plans to float a $100 million IPO on Nasdaq in the near future. Within 10 years, China could be a center of biopharma innovation and success.