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U.S. Opens the Door to Chinese Pills (China)

This article was originally published in PharmAsia News

Executive Summary

China, the world's largest manufacturer of raw materials used in medicines, is now jumping into the generic drugs business. The Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical Company won FDA approval this summer to sell the AIDS drug nevirapine in the United States after the patent on the drug expires in 2012. Currently, nevirapine is sold in the U.S. by Boehringer Ingelheim under the brand name Viramune. [Editor's note: The original version of this summary incorrectly identified the marketer of nevirapine.] The Chinese manufacturer is reportedly the first from that nation to have won FDA approval to sell a generic pill in the United States. The Indian drug industry, now a major player in generics, has paved the way for how a nation can move from manufacturing raw ingredients to selling generic pills. Chinese firms can sell raw pharmaceutical materials for 10% to 15% less than Indian companies, suggesting that the country could be a strong competitor in the generics market. Yusuf Hamied, chairman of Cipla Ltd., one of India's top drug companies, calls the Chinese "brilliant scientists and brilliant chemists" and warns that "India is no match for them if they pick up their English language and pick up a little on regulatory approvals, which they're doing very fast anyway." Hisun Pharmaceutical Co. and Shanghai Desano Chemical Pharmaceutical are two other manufacturers of raw materials that could soon get into the finished pills business. (Click here for more - May Require Paid Subscription

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