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China's driving sales growth ahead of the U.S. for Big Pharma. But can it last?

May 28, 2019 / Angus Liu
SHARESHARESHARE

If you follow Big Pharma companies’ investor updates, you’ll notice China popping up frequently these days. The world’s second-largest pharmaceutical market has been turning up sales increases that continuously surpass those in the U.S. and other developed regions. In the first quarter, emerging markets growth averaged 13.3% among the Big Pharmas followed by Wolfe Pharma analysts, including AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, Pfizer, Roche, Sanofi, Merck & Co. and GlaxoSmithKline. And in China, that number was 29%  versus 8.2% in the U.S. a growth rate that has been ticking upward since the start of 2017, Wolfe’s Tim Anderson noted in a Thursday report.Now that China's increasingly important to Big Pharma, investors are naturally tracking it closely and they wonder just how long that kind of growth can last. For good reason, too; though all of those top companies see big opportunities in China, at least four of them warn growth could be uneven in the quarters a...