China’s pharmaceutical market is booming

While the Chinese could afford only a few pharmaceuticals in the past, this has changed massively in the past years: In 2001, the average Chinese citizen still spent approx. 21 dollars per year for pharmaceuticals. By 2009, the expenditures per person tripled to 67 dollars. Growth which will continue according to the experts. The average expenditures for pharmaceuticals indeed still lie substantially beneath the western levels, but the typical civilisation illnesses have noticeably increased in China as well. Thus, in the last six years, the number of persons afflicted with heart problems and cancer has doubled while high blood pressure and diabetes are supposed to have increased by 200 percent. The one-child policy has also resulted in an even stronger trend towards the aging of the society and thus to similar demographic changes as in the western countries – with the corresponding economic consequences.

While China’s pharmaceutical market consisted primarily of suppliers in the past that mixed together plant substrates, a booming and modern pharmaceutical industry has emerged in recent years. The government has also invested large amounts: 125 billion dollars is supposed to be made available for the development of the health system – with the goal that all 1.3 billion Chinese will have basic health care and that China will develop its own new pharmaceuticals. Meanwhile, the interest of the western companies in the markets in the Far East is constantly growing. International pharmaceutical groups of companies are constantly expanding their presence in China, investing large amounts in their own locations and relocating their R+D activities to the Middle Kingdom.

Concurrently with the change in the consumer habits of the Chinese, the requirements for corresponding packaging are also increasing. The standard of living is constantly growing while the packaging industry is developing at the same pace. According to the forecasts, approx. 36 million tons of packaging are supposed to be produced in 2015. Thus, the Chinese pharmaceutical packaging and the labelling market also have rosy outlooks for the future.

China is forecasted to also have outstanding outlooks for 2011. According to SMERI, the overall Chinese market for pharmaceuticals is supposed to grow by an additional 24 percent to 938.8 billion renminbi in comparison with 2010. By 2013, the sales could triple from currently US$ 25 billion to more than US$ 70. Thus, China would overtake Germany and France and become the third-largest pharmaceutical market – after the USA and Japan.