COVID-19 Anxiety, Uncertainty Fuel China UDCA Frenzy
Options Sought After Sudden Policy Change
Almost overnight, the demand for a little-known liver drug in China has skyrocketed, with makers scrambling to meet surging demand for use in COVID-19. Citizens are looking at every potential way to protect themselves after the country drastically rolled back its strict "COVID Zero" policies, which could result in a huge wave of infections in the world’s most populous nation.
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The hard going could get even tougher as a funding crunch continues for China’s biotech sector, which is being hit by a paradox that could see more pain ahead, leading investors to take the pulse of the sector as the Year of the Rabbit starts.
From orphan to cancer drugs, more products have had their prices cut in the latest round of reimbursement negotiations in China. Although the 60% average across 100 medicines was considered mild given it didn’t go beyond the previous year, it was still chilling and is prompting more firms, both multinational and domestic, to walk away from the process.
For the first time in 61 years, China has reported its population is shrinking and the new demographic shift is likely to have a far-reaching impact on the pharma sector. Meanwhile, regulators have accelerated the approval of new COVID-19 drugs to relieve acute shortages.