Diabetes Delivers China Strength For Merck
Merck & Co reported continued good growth in China in the second quarter, helped in large part by its diabetes franchise, and the company is looking to further strengthen its presence in this market through disease awareness efforts and a major recently inaugurated R&D center.
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The second quarter has been a period of stabilization for multinational drug makers in China, where the challenges of cost-cutting and a national policy to encourage domestic generics remain. Big pharmas including Novartis and Roche are voluntarily reduce prices for major products, to help them compete, reflecting a new willingness to improve patient access in the world's second-largest pharma market.
After a decade-long wait, China has finally approved its first HPV vaccine, GSK's Cervarix, handing a lead to the UK-based firm over its US competitor Merck in the world’s second largest pharma market. But with Chinese companies also vying for a slice of the pie, the battle is just beginning, and pricing will be a key element.
Continuing with a double-digit growth rate, China remained a leading driver for Sanofi’s global business in the fourth quarter. Going digital and building local partnerships emerged as key themes for Sanofi China to explore more opportunities, although it may face testing problems for its vaccine business in the country.