China

2020 Edition

Preface

With 2020 marking the dawn of a new decade following five years of nearly feverish reforms in the Chinese healthcare and life sciences industry, the mood as the country prepared to celebrate Lunar New Year on 25 January was buoyant. Many positive reforms had been undertaken, reshaping the way medicines and medical technology are evaluated, approved and commercialized in China, in increased alignment with international conventions. With healthcare at the top of the national agenda, resources – financial and human – have poured into the sector from both public and private sources, and the entire ecosystem seemed revitalized. As 2019 drew to a close, companies started reporting robust growth figures from their Chinese affiliates or IPOs and M&A deals with eye-watering valuations.

Then on 20 January 2020, the Chinese government declared an emergency outbreak of a novel coronavirus originating from the city of Wuhan in Hebei province, a number of weeks after the first cases had initially been identified by local physicians. Fast forward three weeks and as of 13 February 2020, the official death toll in China numbers above 1350 and a staggering almost 60,000 infections in total (after the government decided to broaden the diagnostic definition to include people with symptoms but have not yet tested positive). Globally, there are at least 570 confirmed cases across 25 countries and territories.

The Covid-19 outbreak – as the virus is now officially named – is a stark reminder that we cannot take health and healthcare systems for granted. Disease transcends borders, as should, accordingly, scientific and medical research, cooperation and alliances. As governments and societies mobilize to respond to this crisis, positives have emerged: the generous donations of medical supplies and diagnostic tests, the concerted efforts of companies looking to develop cures and vaccines for the virus, as well as the tireless dedication of physicians and other medical personnel on the frontlines of the disease.

What is clear that public health emergencies are complex but not intractable problems – as long as all stakeholders come together to find solutions. Ultimately, the healthcare and life sciences industry plays an indispensable role safeguarding the health of society globally. No healthcare system functions alone. Even as the world waits to see how the Covid-19 outbreak plays out over the next few weeks and months, we are once again reminded of the paramount importance of international cooperation and alliances in the healthcare sector, as well as the unquestionably fundamental role of China in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and control of disease globally.

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Cover Story
A New Decade

2019 was a landmark year for the Chinese healthcare industry. As early as 2016 with the publication of the ‘Healthy China 2030’ blueprint, the healthcare sector in China has risen to unprecedented prominence under the aegis of the Chinese government. Against the warm backdrop of regulatory support, a series of policy changes were unveiled in the intervening years with the intention of ameliorating the discovery, development and distribution of innovative and/or affordable medicines to patients in China. Be it accelerated drug approvals or quality evaluations of generics, contract manufacturing operations or telemedicine guidelines, there has been a flurry of regulatory activity over the past few years. 

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2020. Healthcare & Life Sciences Review was produced by Pharmaboardroom.

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Senior Editor: Karen Xi
Report Coordinators: Lucía M. de Vidales, Manon Canicio, Asceline Dury
Report Assistant: Sara Curcio Lamas
Editor: Patrick Burton
Report Publisher: Diana Viola
Graphic Designer: Miriam León

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