China is set to become the second largest market for Mundipharma’s OxyContin behind the US.
It comes as no surprise that sales of opioids such as OxyContin have plummeted in the US following the media storm around the opioid crisis that sees the loss of thousands of American lives [around 72,000 in 2017] each year due to overdose.
The crises shone a spotlight on companies such as Mundipharma’s US affiliate, Purdue Pharma — the Sackler owned company at the eye of the storm and bearing the brunt of the blame.
OxyContin has been the group’s clear moneymaker, generating more than $30 billion in sales for Purdue Pharma over the past 20 years.
The US company’s decline is juxtaposed by the surging momentum at its overseas affiliates, which mostly also carry the name Mundipharma.
Since Raman Sing moved from GlaxoSmithKline in 2011 to become CEO of Singapore-based Mundipharma, revenues soared to $1.1 billion from just $65 million and thousands of sales staff have been recruited. Annual revenues for the global group of companies now exceed $3.4 billion.
China has been at the core of the group’s recent growth and now accounts for one-third of the Singapore company’s sales.
“This is where the growth is coming from,” Raman Singh, told the Nikkei Asian Review in Hong Kong. “By 2025, I’m hoping [China] will become the [group’s] largest market, overtaking the U.S.”
OxyContin and other opioid painkillers are behind the company’s success in China. “In the space of pain management, our market share is between 75% and 80%,” said Singh.
Currently, China is Mundipharma’s third biggest market behind Germany but Singh predicts that China will snatch second place this year.
When asked if there was concern around China suffering a similar crisis to the US, Singh said that “In China, they have been very, very prudent… in terms of who can prescribe, what kind of patients can get the drug, etc. That is something that is holding back a lot of prescriptions — in a good way. In China, only cancer patients can get these kinds of pain medications.”