Foreign drugmakers have had their fair share of struggles in China this year as the country looked to cut down on healthcare spending and root out bribery. But neither of those factors caused a Tuesday holdup of a Pfizer drug. Instead, the company is blaming a paperwork problem for an import suspension on antifungal drug Diflucan.
Pfizer ($PFE) can thank a plant in France for the snafu, according to a statement seen by Reuters from China's FDA. The factory failed to submit a supplementary application on time, which triggered the import stoppage. In its own statement, Pfizer said it has taken measures to remedy the situation and is working with China's FDA to ensure that its products comply with the country's laws, Reuters notes.
With Diflucan--used to treat some yeast and urinary tract infections and cryptococcal meningitis, to name a few--responsible for only $259 million of the $59 billion in 2012 revenue Pfizer hauled in, analysts told Reuters they didn't expect the "glitch" to make a big dent on business. "I am sure the imports will be resumed once the procedure is complete," Simon Li, general manager at industry consultant Kantar Health China, told the news service.
Other drugmakers, on the other hand, saw a severe toll taken on Chinese sales this year after bribery probes spooked both doctors and salespeople into limiting face time or cutting it out altogether. China sales for GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK), which found itself at the center of a $489 million scandal this summer, slid 61% in the third quarter. But the chill on business has extended throughout the industry, affecting even those companies not under investigation, Ipsen CEO Marc de Garidel said in August.
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Editor's note: This story has been updated with Diflucan usage information.