Pharma tries to extract sales from Chinese herbs


While Big Pharma is all over China, making deals and developing drugs to meet demand from a population that wants Western-style meds, many are also developing products from ancient recipes to sell to those who don't. GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) is working with botanicals on products for immune disorders, while Sanofi ($SNY) wants to develop alternative meds for diabetes and cancer, Bloomberg reports. The FDA created a pathway in 2004 for approving plant-based drugs that is less stringent than the one for new molecules, and it has 500 applications to test possibilities. "You have 1.3 billion people, many of whom cannot afford Western medicines and who believe that traditional Chinese medicines are good enough," Bloomberg Industries analyst Sam Fazeli told the news service. "If they can manufacture it on a meaningful scale, and do it with the stamp of a Glaxo or a Sanofi on it, perhaps the consumer will be more interested in buying it than something that's boiled up in a vat somewhere." StoryMore