China pharmaceutical drugs industry to become second largest in the world by 2015

Press release   •   Apr 19, 2013 14:29 BST

China's pharmaceutical drugs industry has grown rapidly in the last few decades to become one of the top drug markets in the world. The value of the industry is forecast to reach over RMB 1 trillion during 2013, from a total of RMB 926.1 billion in 2012. Key factors which have aided the rise of the pharmaceutical drugs industry in China include the accelerating growth of the urban population, expansion of healthcare covering both rural and urban regions, and an increasingly ageing population.

With a population over a fifth of the global population, China has a large base of consumers which need access to pharmaceutical drugs. It is forecast that in the next three years the industry will exhibit a CAGR of over 20% per year. This growth will see the country become the second largest pharmaceutical drugs market in the world by 2015.

Since the late 1970s, when the Chinese authorities began reforming the healthcare sector, the industry has slowly opened up to the world. This gave overseas pharmaceutical manufacturers and producers the opportunity to invest in a huge market that used to be completely closed off to foreign competition. In 2012 sales from imported drugs amounted to around a quarter of all sales in China. It is expected that the coming years will see increased investment and opportunities for pharmaceutical companies to expand their operations in the country.

One of the barriers to entry in this potentially lucrative market is the complex process of registering an imported drug with the Chinese pharmaceutical authorities. The lack of transparency and variations on how Chinese regulations are implemented can hinder and deter foreign businesses from entering the region.

A comprehensive knowledge of the latest Chinese regulations for imported drugs is needed if any overseas pharmaceutical drugs company wants to gain a successful application. Despite a drug registration program implemented in December 2002, the Chinese market has moved more into line with international standards, which will aid entry of business into the industry.

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