Connect with us

World

Beijing aims to refill medicine chest with

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published 

 on 

Beijing aims to refill medicine chest with | The Thaiger
  • follow us in feedly

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Beijing aims to refill medicine chest with ‘Made in China’ drugs
Phuket Gazette / Reuters


PHUKET: China, already a global powerhouse in high-tech areas from solar panels to bullet trains, is turning its industrial might to the challenge of making more of its own drugs for a vast and ageing population.

Given the 10 years or more it typically takes to bring a new medicine to market, original “Made in China” treatments won’t arrive overnight, but multinationals are already encountering more competition from local generic drugs that look set for a quantum leap in quality.

The stakes are high. China is the world’s second biggest drugs market behind the United States, and fast food, smoking and pollution have fuelled a rise in cancers and chronic heart and lung diseases.

The country also has more diabetics than any other in the world, with numbers expected to hit 151 million by 2040 from 110 million today, according to the International Diabetes Federation.

That has made China a sweet spot for Denmark’s Novo Nordisk ; the world’s biggest insulin producer has mined a rich seam in the country since opening production facilities here in 1995.

By 2010, it dominated 63 percent of China’s insulin market. But it has recently been losing ground to local competitors cheered on by Beijing.

“China is going to be tough for us for the next couple of years,” said Chief Science Officer Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen. “Right now, the country is very focused on building domestic production.”

Local rivals are selling both cut-price basic insulin and sophisticated modern versions, including a biosimilar copy of Sanofi’s Lantus made by Chinese biotech specialist Gan & Lee Pharmaceuticals.

END OF BRANDED GENERICS?

Greater local competition is also evident in other areas, helping the top 10 Chinese drugmakers grow sales 12 percent on average this year, according to IMS Consulting – twice the rate of multinationals, which suffered a setback from a bribery scandal at GlaxoSmithKline two years ago.

GSK itself has seen its drug sales slump.

Increasing local competition is part of a structural upheaval in China’s hospital-dominated prescription drug market.

Selling drugs to patients at a hefty mark-up – especially off-patent Western “branded generics” – often accounts for 40-50 percent of Chinese hospitals’ revenues. But the authorities are now pushing a policy of zero mark-ups, initially in smaller county hospitals.

“Branded generics are something that exist today, but the need for them in 10 years time is not going to be there,” said Luke Miels, AstraZeneca’s global portfolio head.

That means foreign firms will be more reliant on new, patented medicines, although the scale of demand for such expensive products is uncertain in a country with only basic health insurance cover.

At the other end of the spectrum, multinationals aim to build up volume, often in partnership with local players, in the big markets outside China’s top cities, where distribution costs are high and prices low.

“It’s the right thing to do, even if profit margins shrink,” said the head of one big multinational.

REGULATOR REFORM

Pivotal to the transformation of the market is the China Food and Drug Administration, led by reformist boss Bi Jingquan since January.

The watchdog has promised to speed up approval of innovative new drugs, which can take 5-7 years, while cracking down on substandard local generics.

“This creates lots of opportunities for local Chinese companies that have a strong focus on innovation,” said a spokesman for China’s Fosun Pharma, which sees itself among the winners.

It is not alone. A cluster of drug research labs in eastern Shanghai highlights the promise of China’s life sciences sector. The area brings together multinational and local firms, alongside contract research businesses and small biotech operations.

Among the latter is Hua Medicine, led by Chinese-born, Western-educated Chief Executive Li Chen, who used to run Roche’s China R&D centre. Now he is developing a novel diabetes treatment, licensed from Roche, while working on Hua’s own promising leads.

Another standard-bearer for Chinese biotech is Beijing-based cancer specialist BeiGene, which last month announced plans for a $100 million initial public offering on Nasdaq.

At a time when China’s academic researchers have grabbed headlines by editing the genes of human embryos, such start-ups highlight the commercial potential of China’s biotech know-how.

The history of failure in drug development suggests they won’t have an easy ride, but GSK’s China R&D head Min Li, a returnee from America, believes “there is a real chance for China to leap ahead in life sciences”.

Dennis Gillings, executive chairman of leading contract research organisation Quintiles, said the number of Chinese-developed drugs in the pipeline was rising fast.

“It’s probably been taking everyone a little by surprise, the sheer scale of that,” he said. “As we hit the next decade in the 2020s, I’d be very surprised if there wasn’t at least a top 20, if not top 10, global pharma player that was headquartered in China.”

— Phuket Gazette Editors

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Find more SE Asian News courtesy of The Thaiger.

Broke? Find employment in Southeast Asia with JobCute Thailand. Rich? Invest in real estate across Asia with FazWaz Property Group. Even book medical procedures worldwide with MyMediTravel, all powered by DB Ventures.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

World

Richest 1% responsible for twice the amount of carbon emissions than the poorest 50%

Caitlin Ashworth

Published

on

Richest 1% responsible for twice the amount of carbon emissions than the poorest 50% | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Unsplash: Alexander Popov

The richest people in the world, who make up just 1% of the population, are responsible for a significant amount of carbon emissions. A study shows that the “1 percenters” make up twice as much carbon pollution than the poorest half of the world. Some say the poor are the least responsible for climate change, but have to deal with most of the negative consequences.

In a 25 year study led by Oxfam, researchers at the Stockholm Environment Institute found that wealthy countries were responsible for using up nearly a third of the Earth’s carbon budget. The study was conducted from 1990 to 2015, when annual emissions grew by 60%.

Oxfam is a confederation of 20 independent charitable organisations focusing on the alleviation of global poverty, founded in 1942 and led by Oxfam International. It is a major nonprofit group with an extensive collection of operations.

63 million people made up the richest 1% of the world. Since 1990, they have been responsible for 9% of the ‘carbon budget’. The carbon budget is the maximum amount of greenhouse gases that can go into the air before temperature rises to catastrophic levels. 3.1 billion people make up the poorest half of the world’s population. The carbon emissions growth rate of the rich 1% was 3 times more than the poorest half of the world.

There’s not just an economic inequality between the rich and the poor, according to the head of policy, advocacy and research, Tim Gore. He told AFP the research shows the world’s “carbon inequality.”

“It’s not just that extreme economic inequality is divisive in our societies, it’s not just that it slows the rate of poverty reduction …But there is also a third cost which is that it depletes the carbon budget solely for the purpose of the already affluent growing their consumption … And that of course has the worse impacts on the poorest and least responsible.”

Carbon emissions have decreased since the pandemic. But just a few months doesn’t take away the damage that has been done for years. Temperatures are still on track to rise several degrees this century. Although the 2015 Paris climate deal was set to keep the global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius above pre industrial levels, emissions have continued to increase.

“It’s clear that the carbon intensive and highly unequal model of economic growth over the last 20-30 years has not benefited the poorest half of humanity… It’s a false dichotomy to suggest that we have to choose between economic growth and fixing the climate crisis.”

Some say the global economy needs to prioritise “green growth.” If not, the decrease in pollution during the pandemic will have a very small and insignificant overall impact on climate change. Some say carbon emissions affect the poorest nations the most who don’t have enough resources to fight natural disasters possibly brought on by the rising temperatures, like wildfires and droughts.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post | AFP

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.
Continue Reading

World

England’s self-quarantine rule breakers will receive up to a 10,000 pound fine

The Thaiger & The Nation

Published

on

England’s self-quarantine rule breakers will receive up to a 10,000 pound fine | The Thaiger

England’s self-quarantine rule breakers are receiving up to a 10,000 pound fine, starting September 28, according to British PM Boris Johnson. The fine will be handed down to anyone who tests positive for the virus or has been in contact with someone who has the virus and dodges the rules for self-quarantine.

For the first offence, rule breakers will receive a 1,000 pound fine and from there it will rise up to 10,000 pounds for those who repeatedly break the rules. Employers who threaten to fire staff over choosing to self-isolate instead of going to work will receive the maximum fine amount of 10,000 pounds. For those lower income workers, Johnson says they will receive a 500 pound support payment in addition to other benefits in which they may qualify.

Despite current British Covid-19 quarantine guidelines matching those of the rest of the world, there has reportedly been little enforcement of self-quarantine rules. Now, Britain is seeing a fast influx of Covid cases prompting the government to get the police involved in compliance checks.

Johnson has come under scrutiny after repeatedly being called to issue a lockdown nationwide with reports coming in that he is planning to reject calls from advisors to issue a 2 week lockdown to slow the virus’ spread.

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.
Continue Reading

Thailand

US accuses Chinese companies of exploitation along the Mekong River

The Thaiger & The Nation

Published

on

US accuses Chinese companies of exploitation along the Mekong River | The Thaiger

The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is accusing Chinese companies of “exploitative practices” in the Mekong River region after a new partnership has been launched to combat “transnational crimes”. Pompeo named the China Communications Construction Company as one of the big offenders and says the Chinese Communist Party is responsible for the increase in human, wildlife and drug trafficking in the region.

He says the new partnership will also strengthen water security for partner countries where China has added to a drought in the region as an upstream damming by China has been carried out in “a completely non-transparent and non-consultative way.”

“We encourage countries of the Mekong region to hold the CCP accountable to its pledge to share its water data. That data should be public. It should be released year-round. It should include water and water-related data, as well as land use, and dam construction and operation data.”

“We stand with our ASEAN partners as we insist on the rule of law and respect for sovereignty in the South China Sea, where Beijing has pursued aggressive campaigns of coercion and environmental devastation.”

Pompeo also said such companies associated with the CCP are linked to human and narcotics trafficking but he did not provide evidence to support the accusation.

Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand all share resources of the Mekong delta and Pompeo reiterated that they “deserve good partners”. The US has reportedly pledged a total of US$156.4 million for multiple initiatives under the new US-Mekong Partnership.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.
Continue Reading
Follow The Thaiger by email:

Trending