China to cut the price of more than 400 drugs by an average of 15%

January 8, 2013 | By Márcio Barra

The BRIC countries have been rough to big pharmas lately. India’s compulsory licensing rules have made, what was once a tempting market for the pharmaceutical industry, a tremendous challenge to companies who wish to sell their products in India. Several patent denials happened in 2012, forcing pharmas to license their still in patent drugs (such as Roche’s Pegasys drug, for hepatitis, and and Bayer’s cancer treatment Nexavar) to local indian manufacturers, who sell at a fraction of the price to the underprivileged population.

Now, another emerging economy is stepping with more bad news for the industry. Reuters reports that China, in a statement issued today from China’s National Development and Reform Commission, will cut the prices of about 400 meds. It is the fourth cut price issued since 2011, with cuts of 15% for most of the affected drugs, and up to 20% for higher priced drugs. These cuts will be implemented in February, to reduce healthcare costs in China and expand medical care to its aging population.

The price cuts includes antibiotics, anti-tumor, hormonal and blood-related medicines, and drugs for the circulatory, nervous, digestive and immune systems. Some of the drugs affected with the price cut are:

  • AstraZeneca’s statin Crestor, antipsychotic Seroquel and inhaled steroid Pulmicort
  • Pfizer’ pain drugs Celebrex and Dynastat
  • Merck’s asthma drug Singulair
  • Sanofi’s drug Lantus, for diabetes
  • Eli Lilly’s antidepressant Cymbalta

Recently off-patent drug, Seroquel, from Astrazeneca

This may be a hard hit to pharmaceutical industries, who are just still now recovering from the last few years patent cliff, and saw China as a promising market in which to recover.


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