Business / Companies

Baiyunshan to spear the world with Jin'ge pills

By Qu Quanlin (China Daily) Updated: 2015-11-17 10:18

Erectile dysfunction medicine sees $109.4m in sales since its launch in October 2014

Makers of Jin'ge, the Chinese version of Viagra, plan to introduce the erectile-dysfunction medicine overseas after reporting strong sales in its first year on the market.

"We have started applying for sales of the medicine in several countries and regions, as global demand is huge," said Wang Wenchu, deputy general manager of Guangzhou Baiyunshan Pharmaceutical Holdings Co Ltd, the Shanghai-listed pharmaceutical maker.

Speaking at a ceremony on Sunday marking the drug's first commercial anniversary, Wang said sales of Jin'ge have topped 700 million yuan ($109.4 million) since its launch in October 2014.

The United States-based drug producer Pfizer Inc had previously dominated the Chinese ED medicine market for years with its patented Viagra.

The company's patent for China expired in May last year, however, when Guangzhou Baiyunshan received permission from China's State Food and Drug Administration to produce and sell a crystalline compound using sildenafil citrate, the blockbuster Viagra's main ingredient.

Jin'ge was developed by a team in the company's R&D center led by Nobel laureate Ferid Murad, known as the "father of Viagra".

It sells for 40 percent less than Viagra, meaning sales have raced ahead quickly.

The Chinese drug-which translates as "golden spear" in English-and its generic variants, are now sold in more than 30,000 drugstores nationally, and Wang predicts Jin'ge sales to exceed 1 billion yuan by 2017, which would be almost level with Viagra's current annual volumes in China.

The company also revealed plans on Sunday to invest at least 1 million yuan per year to develop professional training in the promotion of men's health.

The Shanghai-listed company's shares opened at 29 yuan on Monday, and ended the day 3.47 percent up at 30.15 yuan.

Deng Chunhua, a researcher at the Chinese Medical Association, said: "The Chinese version of Viagra will change the status quo of the global ED medicine market because it has the advantage of lower price, with the same curative effect."

Citing industrial data indicating China has about 127 million people with erectile dysfunction, Deng said the association will be working with Guangzhou Baiyunshan to launch a series of activities to promote men's health.

"Globally, people suffering erectile dysfunction will first receive treatment using a medicine containing sildenafil citrate," said Deng.

According to a survey jointly conducted by the China Sexology Association, Chinese Medical Association and Guangzhou Baiyunshan, however, just 6.97 percent of Chinese men with erectile dysfunction have agreed to using the medicine for treatment.

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