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China's biopharmaceutical industry booms

By Liu Jie | | Updated: 2013-05-08 14:47

Sales revenue of China's biopharmaceutical industry hit 178 billion yuan ($28.92 billion) last year, up 18.4 percent from 2011, and is expected to maintain fast growth over the coming years, said industrial commerce chamber.

The boom is mainly down to surging market demands government support and the emergence of Chinese companies, according to the China Chamber of Commerce for the Import and Export of Medicines and Health Products.

China has become an aging society, resulting in a higher incidence of chronic diseases and cancer. The effectiveness of biomedicines against these illnesses is much better than that of chemical drugs so demand is likely to continue to increase.

China's 12th Five-Year Development Plan (2011-2015) made the biopharmaceutical sector one of the seven key developing industries and issued a series of supportive policies. The policies include funds for vaccine development, research into devices for high-quality diagnosis and protein-related biomedicine discovery. During last year, a total of 3 billion yuan was put into related projects. The chamber forecasts more subsidies are to be offered this year.

Given the market demand and government support, more and more Chinese companies are devoting themselves to the biopharmaceutical business. Currently there are more than 400 local biomedicine producers in China. The biopharmaceutical sector accounted for 5 percent of China's pharmaceutical market in terms of sales last year.

The chamber pointed out that the majority of China's biopharmaceutical products are copy-cat products and the industry urgently needs to enhance research and development capabilities to have their own innovative biomedicines.

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