On the path into emerging markets, drugmakers have stumbled across a thorny regulatory bush here, a pricing sinkhole there--not to mention a couple of big bad wolves in the form of Chinese investigators and Indian patent police. But Sanofi CEO Christopher Viehbacher figures that, whatever the obstacles, the journey will pay off.
Counting on a boom in the Asian demand for injectables, contract manufacturer West Pharmaceutical Services has opened the doors on a nearly 40,000-square-foot facility.
While drug developers have been outsourcing studies in China for years, the country's fast-growing local market has created a need for in-China, for-China services. That's why CRO giant Parexel has launched Dĭng Huī, a Beijing-headquartered offshoot dedicated to helping clients get their therapies on the Chinese market.
Germany's Boehringer Ingelheim two years ago started on a major addition to its operations in China as that rapidly expanding market looked like the promised land to many drugmakers. But the new facilities are coming online even as drugmakers have become the focus of bribery scandals that have put a deep chill over the industry there.
Sanofi said today that it will invest €70 million ($95 million) to build a manufacturing facility that at full capacity will be able to turn out 100 million units a year. That will be about 80% of the volume distributed by Sanofi in Algeria.
Merck KGaA is rejigging its pharmaceuticals management, promoting pharma chief Stefan Oschmann to a new job overseeing prescription and consumer drugs, biosimilars and allergy fighters, previously segregated under separate management.
Some Indian drugmakers have complained about failing infrastructure that leaves power and water supplies uncertain in that country, creating obstacles for manufacturing. A recent warning letter to an API maker in Mumbai illustrates the impact that can have.
The FDA has selected Altaf Ahmed Lal, an Indian-born Ph.D., to take over management of its expanding operations in India. Lal says collaboration with Indian regulators and drugmakers in the country is key to his plans there but acknowledged that his new position "presents a rather daunting challenge."
Under CEO Robert Bradway, Amgen made an Asian expansion one of its top priorities this year, and it's followed through with a decision to set up a new research center in Shanghai.
As third-quarter earnings season nears, analysts are totting up the potential losses in China. And for GlaxoSmithKline, at the heart of the pharma bribery scandal there, the damage to sales may run up to 30%.