China's API exports hurt by quality issues

Some high-profile quality-control problems hurt demand for Chinese-made active pharmaceutical ingredients in 2009. But demand is expected to grow again now, according to outsourcing consultant JZ Med.

The market for Chinese APIs was worth $31 billion in 2009, a drop of 3 percent, the report showed. API exports dropped even more--by about 8 percent--to roughly $16 billion. JZ concludes that demand fell in part because of the economic downturn, but also because global pharma has been concerned about quality problems with Chinese APIs--such as the widely publicized contamination of the heparin supply in 2008.

But those quality problems may end up helping China's API producers, JZ says; the shortfalls have prompted some API-makers to beef up quality controls and change processes to be more like the good manufacturing practices mandated in Europe and the U.S.

JZ expects that market to reverse its decline and expand by 5 percent to 8 percent in 2010 to $33 billion. After that, growth is expected at a faster clip--15 percent--to $65 billion by 2015. That's assuming another heparin-type scandal doesn't break, of course.

- read the in-Pharma Technologist story