Is Pfizer eyeing Chinese outsourcing?

Does Pfizer spell its outsourcing future C-H-I-N-A? A couple of days ago, the company announced plans to both a.) outsource more of its manufacturing, and b.) step up its business in China. Inquiring minds want to know whether those two aims will be combined. The company's own statement Wednesday noted that one of its reasons for expanding in Asia is to take "greater advantage of global manufacturing and R&D in Asia."

Though the company says it doesn't now import drugs made in China, it wouldn't say that it will not in the future, according to Pharmalot. Meanwhile, at least one analyst is wondering. "They didn't say it," Les Funtleyder told the Associated Press. "That doesn't mean it isn't happening."

According to Pharmalot, Pfizer has been looking at making active ingredients in China for a few years. It made a deal with two companies, including Shanghai Pharmaceutical Group, which recently made headlines because of contaminated leukemia drugs that sickened 200 Chinese patients. Pfizer said it never did buy ingredients from Shanghai because it didn't meet the company's standards. Will the company find Chinese ingredient makers and contract manufacturers that do meet those standards? We'll have to wait and see.

- read the Pharmalot item
- see the Sydney Morning Herald story