Updated on 28 January 2013
Regulatory and hospital reforms form a major part of the challenges facing the Chinese life science sector
As the rapid development of China continues apace, one-of-the-major challenges has been to piece together the country's previously fragmented healthcare system. Whilst regulatory and hospital reform are a part of this, perhaps the biggest driving force for change has been the development of the biotech and pharmaceuticals industry in the country.
The healthcare market in China is set to become the world's third largest by 2013, with spending in 2012 likely to reach $400 billion. Combined with China's government commitment in the 12th Five-Year Plan to invest $6.3 billion in the biopharmaceutical sector alone, it is clear that this is an industry on the up.
It is the local promise, size and scale of the market that companies are now really starting to realize. Some of the largest pharma companies are already taking advantage of this, with Pfizer noting as it began its new operation in Hangzhou that sales of its Viagra in China hit $80 million and are expected to top $160 million by 2013.
Put simply, there is a huge demand for medicines and treatments in China. For example, China's 92 million diabetes sufferers are estimated to increase by 40 million by 2030. Lundbeck's China president and GM, Mr Herman Santoni, notes, "Around 100 million people in China currently suffer from pharmaceutically-treatable mental illness and it is estimated that almost 70 percent of patients with serious mental diseases do not receive effective treatment. As such, the Chinese market is of increasing importance."
This is why Lundbeck has opened a factory in Tianjin in order to "fill up the demand gap in China's treatment of Alzheimer's disease market." Lundbeck plans to use its China plant to launch three-to-five new nervous system drugs for the domestic market and projects growth at 20 percent each year.