The Problems and Potential of China's Pharmaceutical Industry
AEI Health Policy Outlook, No. 3, April 2009
10 Pages Posted: 23 Oct 2013
Date Written: April 23, 2009
China’s pharmaceutical market has experienced significant growth in recent years, fueled by increasing wealth among its own population as well as accelerating global demand for cheap, effective medicines to treat ailments ranging from high cholesterol to HIV/AIDS. Along with India, China supplies more than 40 percent of the active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) used to make U.S. pharmaceuticals. The current financial crisis, and the limited resources and tighter budgets it has engendered, may accelerate the trend. Yet, China is dogged by a history of poor-quality pharmaceuticals that have killed hundreds and sickened thousands of its own citizens and people across the globe. The government has begun to tighten its laws, but enforcement remains weak, and official obfuscation is rampant. While any retaliatory protectionist measures in the United States would be counterproductive, China and its international partners would gain from improving the frequency and technical sophistication of inspections, the prosecution of perpetrators, and the culture of self-policing within China’s pharmaceutical industry.
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