May 24, 2018 Source: Ddu 306
Though the US stands first in the race in terms of sales and growth, it is highly believed that China would reach the peak in the pharma market by 2022. At present, since there has been a decrease in public health funding, there has been a slight fall in pharmerging countries like Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC). But it is believed that the condition of these pharmerging countries will improve in the next five years .
Spending on medicines in pharmerging countries in 2022 (in billion US dollars) 
Market Scope predicted that China’s ophthalmic market would reach $4.0 billion from $2.7 billion in 2022 . Though the economy of China was initially quite slow, the country has increased access to medical care with more government spending on health and a rising supplemental health insurance markets. For the last two years, China has implemented many reforms to improve the quality of healthcare by regulating medical devices and pharmaceuticals, speeding up the approval of new products and developing diagnostic equipment and manufacturing of medical technology. Since there was a huge gap from the government side, the access of entrepreneurs and private businesses got increased to fill the gap. The right combination of need, rising income, and growing opportunities for private initiatives would help China to reach the peak in the world’s largest ophthalmic market. (These estimates do not include the market for traditional Chinese medicines). It was also noted that China was one of the first of its kind in implementing mobile diagnostic technologies and telemedicine. Several efforts were going on to improve the diagnostic capabilities in rural areas and linking them to the specialists in urban hospitals via telemedicine.
For the time being, the Chinese pharmaceuticals market was highly fragmented where the top 50 domestic companies such as Guangzhou Pharmaceutical Holdings, Shanghai Pharmaceuticals Holding, Yunnan Baiyao, Kangmei Pharmaceutical, Harbin Pharmaceuticals, Xiuzheng Pharmaceutical Group, Sinopharm, Bayer, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Roche, Sanofi, Novo Nordisk, Merck & Co., Johnson & Johnson, Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, accounts for only one-fifth of the market. But still, there were significant opportunities for multi-national companies to expand their reach and presence in China.
The lead analyst of the Visiongain report said, “The Chinese pharmaceutical market is largely driven by sales of generic, domestically produced drugs. It is no surprise that the only two of the top ten pharmaceutical companies by value are multinational firms relying on reduced sales volume on high margin. In total, the top ten companies in the Chinese pharmaceutical market generated 18.0% of the total market revenues. This figure is far below the market share for the top ten firms in the developed US and European markets. Recent consolidation within the industry has been driven by stricter good manufacturing practice regulations pushing smaller firms out of business. Visiongain anticipates further consolidation within domestic manufacturers over the next ten years, along with a greater prominence for multinational with innovative treatments.” 
It is a well-known fact that China will be an ever-increasing important component for drug development. It was reported in CNBC that China’s 2017 pharmaceutical market had reached $122.6 billion, as per the data from IQVIA (formerly QuintilesIMS). China’s pharmaceutical market was expected to grow to between $145 billion and $175 billion by 2022. Last year Lan Huang, the chief executive officer of BeyondSpring, stated that China has got innumerable opportunities in health and biotech sector. The health companies will surely make use of its clinical resources to reduce costs and time in drug development. A key area of development apart from ophthalmology would be oncology development. Since China is thickly populated, around 700,000 new cases of cancer are diagnosed in China every year. The high number of cancer patients is directly correlated with a higher percentage of patients who enter clinical trials. 
For instance, in respect to the development of CAR-T therapies, China is seeing exponential growth. There are currently 116 clinical CAR-T trials registered in China. But only 96 trials were registered in the United States. In 2016 Juno Therapeutics (now part of Gilead Sciences) combined forces with Shanghai-based WuXi AppTec to form a new Chinese company called JW Biotechnology Co., Ltd. Here, cancer treatments involve Juno’s chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) and T cell receptor (TCR) technologies in combination with WuXi AppTec's R&D and manufacturing platform. 
Over the past few years, one more change has been noticed in China. The drug restrictions were relaxed so that the western companies were able to have a tie up for further drug development. Previously, drug companies had to wait for a long time to gain approval in other countries before starting clinical trials in China. But now the growing demand for newer drugs has opened the doors to new opportunities. Chinese pharma companies are making their notable presence in the West. CNBC reported that in 2016, Chinese pharma companies had gained approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for 38 generic drugs, with a marked rise from 22 in 2015. 
In the first quarter of 2017, around $125.5 million was invested by Chinese venture capitalists. But in 2018, more than $1.4 billion was spent by Chinese investors into U.S. biotech firms, which led to approximately 40 percent hike of overall funds. That’s how during recent times, China has become the second-largest drug market in the world. Until 2012, Japan remained in second position after the United States. The overall value of Japan’s healthcare market was $84.8 billion in 2017. Now since China has taken second position, one could expect competitive growth in Japan also. There would also be an increase in its biopharmaceutical workforce over the next few years due to joint programs between academic institutions and the pharma industry. For example, the association between Paraxel International and Meiji Pharmaceutical University, a private college in Japan, in order to train the people for varied industrial roles. 
By looking at the tremendous opportunities in China, it is crystal clear that China is in the race and should achieve the target of $175 billion by 2022. There would also be a fair chance of topping the list of the largest drug market in the world.
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