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Drug makers see huge opportunities in China

Thar's gold in them thar hills!

We hear a lot about China and its attractions for manufacturing and clinical research.

But China is not just for manufacturing anymore. Wikipedia's extensive overview of the Chinese domestic market contains the following:

China accounts for 20% of the world's population but only 1.5% of the global drug market.
The domestic pharmaceutical market is highly fragmented and inefficient.
China is reportedly expected to become the fifth largest pharmaceuticals market in the world by 2010.
To wit, here are three recent stories that demonstrate global pharmaceutical companies are, indeed, seeing gold in the pharmacies and hospitals of Beijing, Shanghai, and Chengdu.

Most recently, Pfizer announced that it was looking to expand its Chinese sales force even though its busily trimming sales reps in its home market.

The same day, a Pfizer exec noted the "very good profitability" of the Chinese market and now the company was going to use partnerships to grow its presence.

But Pfizer just serves as a recent example for what every drug company is doing. Novartis, for instance, is looking to invest billions in China, all with the hope of transforming China into Novartis' 3rd largest market.

Giddy times, indeed.

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