China continues moves to shake up generics production

Officials in China are continuing their efforts to improve the country's overall drug production processes. On Thursday, officials said they wanted to cut the amount of red tape involved in developing generics and also establish tougher standards on quality control.

This follows an earlier move in November when the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) said it would launch a three-year pilot program designed to make it easier to get new drugs approved.

"Improving the quality of generic drugs concerns the sustainability of the health insurance system and matters to whether people can afford efficient drugs," state-run media outlet Xinhua reported, citing a statement from Yu Zhengsheng, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, which is the country's top political advisory body.

The officials said they wanted to establish "unified standards for hospitals to use when selecting drugs and preferential policies encouraging procurement of better drugs," Xinhua reported.

China, like Japan, is trying to reform its overall health care system and is trying to upgrade its domestic pharma capabilities in the face of increasing foreign competition, all of whom are fighting for their share of a market anticipated to be worth some $185 million, according to a recent report from IMS Health.

China is also cracking down on quality-control problems. Last month, the CFDA rejected 11 drug applications over false clinical trial data, 8 of which were for generics, Xinhua reported.

The pilot program announced in November covers 10 Chinese provinces and includes Beijing, Shanghai, the southern province of Guangdong and Zhejiang.

- here's the report from Xinhua