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China's pharma market expected to become world's second-largest

CHINA'S pharmaceutical market is expected to record 17 percent annual growth through 2020 and become the world's second-largest pharmaceutical market, a new industry report said.

The retail market size of China's pharmaceutical sector will jump to 1.9 trillion yuan (US$310 billion) from 600 billion yuan in 2012, consultancy McKinsey said in a report co-published today with Elsevier Business Intelligence and BayHelix Group. 

Hospitals are expected to contribute about 84 percent of overall sales and will continue to be the dominant sales channel for drugs, the report said.

Chronic disease and demographic shifts will be the major driver for increasing health care spending, the report pointed out.

The substantial long-term growth potential in the market fueled the optimism of multinational drug firm executives as 90 percent of respondents said China is already a top five global strategic priority for their companies.

Besides offering opportunities, there are also hurdles for multinational drug firms as 84 respondents of the McKinsey survey cited lack of reimbursement for innovative drugs as a major barrier for growth.

The National Reform and Development Commission's continuous efforts to drive down drug prices also posed intensifying pressure for drug companies.

"Pharmaceutical companies need to formulate new strategies and new business models to capture the growth opportunity," said Franck Le Deu, partner and leader of McKinsey's Healthcare Practice in China, including China's mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan.


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