By 2020, pharmaceutical sales in China will top $300 billion, making it the second largest pharma market in the world. That represents a six-fold increase from 2012 - an astonishing compound annual growth rate of 26.5%.
Population growth and demographic changes are partly responsible, say analysts GlobalData. Another significant factor is regulatory reform. A host of new government initiatives aimed at reducing corruption and promoting market forces are expected in coming years.
One such measure is the recent decision to allow online retailers such as Alibaba and Wal-Mart to sell Rx as well as OTC pharmaceutical products direct to the public. The Chinese FDA are currently finalizing the list of drugs that will be approved for sale.
According to Deutsche Bank*, the online B2B market in pharmaceuticals alone could be worth more than $100 billion. This is partly due to the fact that a lot of innovative drugs are paid for directly by consumers. The burgeoning middle class are increasingly online, medically informed, and ready to demand specific treatments from doctors.
Market access and marketing strategy in China
Given increasing levels of smartphone ownership* and the empowerment of Chinese patients as consumers, a strong focus on direct, multi-channel engagement will be an essential component of any successful market access strategy.
While methods of engagement are changing, face-to-face value communication remains as important as ever. An evolving and fragmented landscape of payers and healthcare professionals requires a holistic approach, and a flexible field force.
A good example of the evolution of customer engagement is the changing nature of medical affairs. While traditionally concerned with initiating clinical trials, pharmacovigilance and other functions, the MSL is now often seen as an enabler of business relationships and a conduit for marketing content.
Flexible engagement and in-house content development
At BaseCase, we’ve watched the evolution of the Chinese market with great interest, partly as it’s a great testing ground for our core value proposition - that flexible, in-house app development provides a better way to communicate the value of your products in a dynamic healthcare environment.
Our platform is used to develop apps for MSLs, KAMs or the wider sales force - quickly and easily using a drag-and-drop interface. It’s an innovative technology that gives market access and commercial teams the flexibility to quickly and efficiently adapt tools to different countries, modify them for different purposes, and update them as strategy changes.