China’s booming pharmaceutical market attracts R & D

Home/Pharma News | Posted 14/01/2011 post-comment0 Post your comment

China, which is approximately the size of the US, but with five times the population, has long been off-limits for global pharma due to its complex regulations, low healthcare expenditure and its seemingly unenforceable intellectual property laws. However all that has apparently changed according to a Reuters analysis, which shows that China is grabbing an increasing share of the global R & D budget, with investigators launching new studies to help understand how to treat the country’s huge population and tap into one of the fastest growing pharma markets on the planet.


Reinstatement of patent protection, investment by the Chinese government in food and drug regulation and action against bribery have all contributed to this change of heart from big pharma.

Diseases which were previously not of major interest to big pharma, as they are not widespread in the West, such as cancers of the liver, stomach, head and neck, are now being investigated in the Chinese population.

Novartis and Pfizer are among the drugmakers already conducting research in China with the aim of designing medicines for diseases prevalent among the Chinese.

Fuelled by a massive aging population, rapid economic development, and urbanisation, the pace of China’s medical spending over the past five years has been double its massive gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate. According to industry researcher IMS Health, China is expected to become the world’s third-largest prescription drug market by 2011 and China’s medical spending is expected to grow 22% a year through 2013. So it is no wonder that big pharma are finally paying attention.

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Source: Reuters, IMS, FleetStreetInvest.

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