THOUGHTS

Top Trends Shaping the Asian Biopharma Industry

May 10, 2019

Some of the earlier events in Asia, such as China’s market access blockade, Japan’s spending controls, and deceleration in Southeast Asia and India have contributed towards a flat enthusiasm for the biopharmaceutical sector in Asia. However, certain recent trends have reignited the interest in biopharma in this region, with key implications for pharma executives.

Asia is popular for its dynamic markets and its rapid growth. Although over the past year the enthusiasm in the region for biopharma has been flat, several recent biopharma trends have turned the tables. This has brought about several market changes that make it essential for companies to reassess their strategy and go-to-market model. In this blog, biopharmaceutical industry experts at Infiniti Research discuss some of the recent biopharmaceutical industry trends in Asia and share perspectives on their implications for executives in biopharmaceutical companies.

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Key biopharma trends in Asia

CDFA reforms in full stride in China

The recent China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) reforms are more optimistic fundamentals that aim to support industry growth through innovation. Over the past few years, the CDFA has made significant strides in terms of addressing critical gaps in the system. Furthermore, there have been several reforms published on the drug-registration policy. These policies have been designed to improve the registration process and to encourage companies in the biopharmaceutical industry to bring innovation to China. This includes therapies for addressing severe and rare diseases and fast tracking approval for therapies. As a result of these new drug approvals, a record number of approvals and new product launches were seen over the last couple of years. The biopharma industry in China is accelerating against the backdrop of the new CDFA reform.

Price reforms in Japan

The Japanese ministry of health made a proposal in 2017 to overhaul the current drug pricing regulations. This reform will affect both the new drug pricing and in market pricing revisions across all drug categories including off-patent long-listed products, patented prescription drugs, and generics. This includes changes such as narrowing price maintenance premium (PMP) for patented products. The PMP will now be applicable only to selected drugs and full premium will be awarded only to a subset of companies. The scope of the premium will be limited to innovative drugs and the amount of premium will be matched to a company’s contribution to R&D.

Emerging fund pools in Southeast Asia and China

In China, there has been an upward trend in the expansion of reimbursement of innovative drugs. Furthermore, companies in the biopharma industry in China have also started to experiment with new models to improve patients’ access to medicines. China remains an important growth engine for companies. With these biopharma trends and changing outlook in China, the country remains a highly lucrative market and an important growth engine for companies in the biopharma industry.

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Digital and advanced analytics in healthcare

Although big data and other digital technologies have been constant buzzwords in the biopharma industry in Asia, now we are seeing their gradual uptake by several companies in the sector. Governments in Asian countries like China and Japan have introduced policies to promote the application of such advanced biopharma trends. Furthermore, even physicians and medical reps, especially in Japan, have already shifted away from pharmaceutical sales reps as their primary information source and use digital channel as their primary source. In China, for instance, studies show that doctors spend over two hours of their working day on an average online and have switched from computers to smartphones to support many of their professional activities. Consequently, digitalization is going to be one of the key biopharma trends that are going to revolutionize Asia.

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