Novartis sees massive potential in Chinese healthcare market
Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis thinks that the Chinese drug market is going to be a major driver of growth for the industry. According to the company’s CEO Joe Jimenez, speaking at an interview last Tuesday, the Chinese pharmaceutical market could exceed $300 billion in sales by 2020. At present, it is the world’s second-biggest pharmaceutical market after the U.S.
Historically speaking, foreign drug makers have had to wait years to get treatments approved elsewhere into the Chinese pharmaceutical market. But that’s changing. Novartis’ specialist kidney cancer drug Votrient was pushed through in a couple of months, as was its myelofibrosis medication Jakavi. Other drug makers have had similar success in 2017.
“They recognize they have a population that really wants to be a part of getting access to health care and new medicines. They’re starting to bring down those barriers.”
It is also true that the China is now home to a nascent but “innovative” pharmaceutical industry. Chinese scientists from the U.S. are returning home, biotech startups are proliferating, and some big U.S. drug makers have begin to put down roots. Novartis itself has over 300 scientists in the country working on “many new molecules” that could help combat illnesses common to the region.
Jimenez also took the opportunity to opine on the situation in the U.S., saying that President Trump’s pick of Scott Gottlieb to head up the FDA, the country’s regulator, was a “good choice”. According to Jimenez, Gottlieb wants to “accelerate drug development in the U.S. and reduce some of the excess regulation, but at the same time, he recognizes the need to increase competition.”
Dominion holds Novartis in its Global Trends Managed Fund.
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