Unravelling China’s healthcare sector
29th November 2013
While some Western countries are struggling to prevent the economy from shrinking, GDP growth in China has not fallen below 7 per cent since 1991. In healthcare, China is now placed among the top rows in most global pharmaceutical companies’ strategy planning chart, for its large ageing population, improving coverage of public health insurance and a budding private insurance industry. In fact, by 2016 total drug sales in China are expected to reach $100bn with an annual growth rate of 20 per cent, overtaking Japan and so becoming the second largest pharmaceutical market in the world.
Unlike the personal computer or home appliance markets, there is no Lenovo or Haier equivalent among the Chinese domestic players posing an imminent threat to the multinationals in the branded prescription and even off-patent prescription market. But with the advancing drug regulatory standards and intensifying healthcare reform, will the domination by global pharmaceutical companies continue over the next 20 years? To answer this question, one must understand the rationale behind the much hyped health reform and how China’s pharmaceutical landscape will transform.