Trends: Global Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Investment
Conducting clinical trials overseas is nothing new, however, increasing access to capital and investment in emerging countries does appear to be relatively recent. Two new pieces (links at end) detail the move into China by pharmaceutical companies. I have covered this notion in a previous post.
Even though there has not been much discussion of this trend, it really is not surprising with the increasing attention and acknowledgment of the major chronic disease threats facing developing countries and particularly high growth economies. In addition to the pharmaceutical companies moving into Asia, the largest managed care company in the US (by revenue), the United Health Group, through a subsidiary is looking to establish five chronic disease centers (more information at the Center for Global Dev blog), hoping to replicate the success of infectious disease centers:
“Ovations plans to replicate this success. Centres will be expected to train and develop individuals who will become leaders and be ready to capitalise on the large flow of funds that is likely soon to be available for countering chronic disease in the developing world.”
The middle class in places like China and perhaps India will certainly start to gain access to many of the treatments the US middle class has, however the question of access to the poor is a big question. As the CNN article states below, China recently ruled in favor of a Pfizer drug patent. Given the trend of big pharma moving into certain emerging markets, this pro industry ruling and big pharma’s obessive fear over generic competition, distributing low cost drugs (brand or generic) to BOP markets may become much more difficult as MNCs enter these markets. However, perhaps this will be mitigated by some sort of tiered pricing system, provided there are guaranteed arbitrage protections (which I am guessing could be very difficult).
In terms of infrastructure and capital investment things are certainly starting to heat up, watch this space in the future to see what happens…
Developing Trends – Recent News:
China: Big Pharma’s new New Jersey, CNN link
Asia Will Become The New Center Of Gravity, Pharmalot post
Indian biotech industry crosses $2 billion, link
Not directly related, but interesting – Call for a Global FDA, link