AZ deals in Japan, Lilly trains in Russia

As if to underscore the growing importance of international drug markets, today's news was full of developments from around the globe, particularly Asia. Drug co-promotions, manufacturing standards, and counterfeiting--all issues that affect drugmakers doing business globally. Here's a sampling.

Astellas Pharma has snapped up the chance to co-promote AstraZeneca's Symbicort Turbuhaler in its home market, giving AstraZeneca a Japanese boost. The drug isn't yet cleared for sale there, but it's expected to be launched later this year. "Partnering with Astellas will ensure that we successfully launch and maximise the potential of Symbicort Turbuhaler for the roughly five million people in Japan living with asthma," Bruno Angelici, an AstraZeneca executive vice president, said in a statement. As you know, Japan is the world's second-largest drug market.

Eli Lilly is teaming up to train Russian drug regulators. In a partnership with the Chao Center and the Parenteral Drug Association, Lilly will help establish "good manufacturing" standards for the Rozdravnadzor, a.k.a. the Russian FDA. The group is also going to try to build bridges between Russian regulators and the U.S. FDA. "Common global standards in pharmaceutical manufacturing are in the best interests of public health and patient safety," Frank Deane, president of manufacturing operations at Lilly, said in a statement. "Partnering with regulatory agencies and manufacturers is an important step toward achieving these standards."

In the not-so-good news department, China has admitted that manufacturers in that country have been producing fake drugs and exporting them under a "Made in India" label. Naturally, when Indian officials found out about the counterfeiting, it complained vociferously to the Chinese government. And now China is cracking down. "The Chinese government ... promised that suitable action will be taken against these companies for selling fake drugs and tarnishing the name of another country," an Indian commerce official told the Economic Times.

- get the AstraZeneca release
- see the Purdue Research Park statement on Russian training
- read the Astellas story from Reuters
- check out the Economic Times article