(Yicai Global) Sept. 25 -- China, the world's No. 2 pharmaceutical market by revenue, will be a key source of growth for overseas drugmakers over the next five years as an easing of regulations and better healthcare drive demand for innovative drugs in the country, Moody's Investors Service said in a new report.
Multinational pharmaceutical giants with an established presence in China such as Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Sanofi and Novartis stand to benefit the most because they have sales channels already in place and experience in navigating this complex market, the US credit rating agency said.
Global players can benefit greatly from recent regulatory reforms that simplify the import of drugs into China, grant market exclusivity periods for specific medicines and speed up the approval timelines of clinical trials, according to a July report by communications platform Lionbridge.
An increasing number of drugs are being made available to the Chinese population through the national health insurance program, New York-based Moody's added. While this opens up sales to a vast potential market, to be on the National Drug Reimbursement List drugmakers must agree to substantially reduce their retail prices, in some cases by over 50 percent.
Cancer rates in Asia are high, according to the World Health Organization. Producers of specialized medication, such as Merck, Roche Holding and Bristol-Myers Squibb, should do well, the report added.