China earmarks $750M for building API exports

Foreign companies may be scrambling to move into the Chinese drugs market, but China wants its own pharmaceutical firms to go in the opposite direction. The Global Times reports the Chinese government plans to invest more than $750 million to build up capacity to produce active pharmaceutical ingredients for drugmakers in other countries.

The goal is to grow API exports in a big way, said Yu Mingde, president of the Chinese Pharmaceutical Enterprises Association. "In the next five years, the government will assist some 60 producers in the sector with the goal of reaching international quality standards of manufacturing, and also help the sector realize total export volume of more than $4 billion."

The "quality standards" bit is an important one. As CIC Industry Research's pharma analyst Guo Fanli points out, China already produces most of the world's APIs, but they're sold mostly into developing countries. "The majority of the API drugs produced in China are exported to Africa," Guo said, "since it is hard for Chinese drug producers to comply with with quality standards of Western countries." Apparently, Chinese officials want to change all that.

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