Thursday, October 2, 2008

Pharma Outsourcing: China On Top

China is emerging as the leading destination for outsourcing in Asia, the big pharmaceutical companies agree. The trends came to light with the release of a PWC report which rates Asian nations on cost, risk and market opportunity of the industry.

China is followed by India and the Asian tigers Korea and Taiwan. And what's driving them forward guessed it. It's primarily the cost factor. The report outlines 3 prominent trends.

The trend towards high end innovation - intellectual property (IP) concerns have previously inhibited this trend in pharma but, increasingly, such concerns are being overcome and major moves are being made by big pharma companies to step up their drug discovery investment in Asia.

Rapid expansion of clinical trials in Asia's medical industry - the volume of clinical trials being conducted in countries outside of Europe, North America and Japan has been growing rapidly in recent years with Asian countries leading much of the growth. China has overtaken India as one of the fastest-growing locations. By June 2008, China had 428 clinical trials registered on the website as under way and a cumulative total of 870 completed or ongoing trials compared with 737 in India.

A scaling up of pharma manufacturing in Asia – with an increased commitment to international standards, Asian CMOs are securing more outsourcing orders from big pharmaceutical companies. In India, for example, there are more than 100 FDA-approved pharmaceutical facilities – the largest number in any country outside the US.

As against the earlier scenario, factors such as the presence of educated and qualified scientists, improved intellectual property (IP) legislation and a good market growth seems to have overridden the negatives surrounding development in the region.
At the same time, concerns about outsourced pharma products still remain at large. Whether it's the tainted heparin products or the reports of contaminated milk powder from China ensuring safety should be a big challenge. Even the proposed FDA Globalization Act of 2008 has met with criticism on account of feasibility, for the most part due to the present FDA funding, which is far too less to meet the goals in time. Companies need to be profitable but not at the cost of harming those they are supposed to heal.

Outsourcing aside, recently it was revealed that News Articles are Lax In Disclosing Drug Trial Funding.

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