Big Pharma Eyes the China Market – Bloomberg

In the latest version of the China-as-untapped-market story, U.S. and European pharmaceutical companies see a changing China as the place to maintain sales growth, writes Bloomberg’s Shannon Pettypiece:

traditionalmed.jpegPenetrating the Chinese market is crucial for the drugmakers as China’s middle class of 300 million already matches the entire U.S. population and will double in three years. At the same time, prosperity is fueling an explosion in Western-style diseases, including an epidemic of obesity that now affects 90 million Chinese. With poor air quality and 350 million smokers, China’s rates of asthma, cancer and lung disease are surging. [Full text]

And that spells opportunity. Still, Western companies know they have to compete with traditional medicines. For example, Pettypiece describes the marketing strategy for the allergy drug Claritin:

Schering-Plough Corp., based in Kenilworth, New Jersey, is advertising its allergy pill Claritin on television, allowed because the drug is available without a prescription. The commercials feature a green cartoon warrior who battles allergy symptoms. The ads aim to show that Claritin works faster than traditional Chinese medicine, said Trevor Juniper, Schering- Plough’s general manager in China.

Schering-Plough found in a survey of more than 18,000 Chinese that many thought their allergies were a cold, Juniper said. As a result, Schering-Plough started holding educational events on allergies, using mobile displays in shopping malls showing common household items that can cause reactions.

[Image via Bloomberg]

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