News Feature | April 11, 2014

Chinese Pharmaceutical Market Sees Increasing Investments, Growth

By Estel Grace Masangkay

Bharat Book Bureau (3B) has released its report “The Chinese Pharmaceuticals Market To 2024.” 3B attributes the growth of the Chinese pharmaceutical market to domestic factors as well as global inward investment. However, the drug market does face challenges from both drug counterfeiting and corruption.

According to the report, economic growth is behind pharmaceutical sales growth in the country. ‘Big Pharma’ companies have increased investments in research and development centers as well as employment opportunities for Chinese graduates and workers.

Domestic factors, including increased health insurance and health education levels, rising numbers of hospitals, and increased per capita income in the country, also played a crucial part in the Chinese pharmaceutical market growth. The following domestic factors were highlighted by the report:

  • Increase in healthcare expenditure per capita, from $157 in 2008 to $278 in 2011
  • Increasing income and population. The middle class population reached 400m in 2010 and is expected to reach 500m by 2015
  • In 2012, the central government alone invested CNY 24.3bn ($3.9 billion) to improve health service infrastructure
  • Key life style changes, which have accelerated the diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular, chronic respiratory diseases
  • The over 65 population has increased to 9.1 percent of the total population in in 2011 from 8.3 percent in 2008

These factors have all played a role in increasing internal healthcare expenditure as well as manufacture and export. However, the Chinese pharmaceutical market is threatened by the presence of counterfeit drugs, which is encouraged by a lack of regular inspections. Though drug enforcement and regulatory bodies exist, counterfeit drugs are readily introduced in the delivery chain of the market because the fragmentation of the market. The report also cited widespread corruption as a factor increasing the presence of counterfeits and poor quality drugs in the market.

The full report can be obtained at Bharat Book Bureau.