Heavyweights from the European pharmaceutical industry have concluded a successful trip to China, aimed at strengthening ties with the sector and government in the country.
A high-level delegation from the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations have just returned from Beijing, including president and Sanofi chief executive Chris Viehbacher, EFPIA director-general Richard Bergstrom and the heads of UCB and Merck Serono, Roch Doliveux and Stefan Oschmann. They took part in a public conference on ‘translational medicine in a global world and a workshop on transparency and good governance, as well as an industry regulatory symposium.
Mr Viehbacher noted that China’s growing life sciences sector “is paving the way for the country to become an increasingly influential player in drug development”, adding that the visit “marks an important milestone in fostering understanding between international health care leaders and promoting awareness about the advancements taking place” in China.
Dr Oschmann stated that China’s “commitments to reform healthcare and further develop a stronger biopharmaceutical sector go hand in hand”. He claimed that “to improve patient access to high-quality healthcare and to become a truly global innovator, China should continue to work towards creating an environment that supports innovation”.
EFPIA notes that China’s pharmaceutical output has increased by 719% since 2000 and venture capital investments in the sector have grown from $7 million to $491 million over the same period. A growing number of global drugmakers have set up R&D centres in China over the last few years, including AstraZeneca and Novo Nordisk in 2002, Eli Lilly and GlaxoSmithKline in 2003 and Roche in 2004; since then, Pfizer, Sanofi and Johnson & Johnson have also established research bases there, among others.
The visit came days after GSK was ordered to pay £297 million to the Chinese government after having been found guilty of bribing doctors to prescribe its medicines.
By Kevin Grogan