IPHARMA on 10 DIA China Annual Meeting
On May 23-25th, 10 DIA China Annual Meeting was held, in which IPHARMA took part. China’s pharmaceutical market is the second biggest in the world. It is developing rapidly, adopting Western experience, and is growing through the investments. This year, IPHARMA decided to visit the DIA anniversary meeting and get to know the specifics of conducting clinical trials in China, as well as to communicate with drug developers.
Natalia Vostokova, PhD, IPHARMA Chief Operating Officer, shared her impressions after the trip.
What were your expectations from first visit to China?
We tried not to set any expectations about it, realizing that it’s always better to see everything yourself. We heard a lot about fantastic technological and economical progress from our colleagues from Skolkovo, and we soon had chance to prove their words.
However, we worried there might be some language and cultural barriers in communication and we want to thank Evgeni Kosolapov, Skolkovo representative in China, for his help in organization meetings with the members of the companies.
What are the differences between DIA China and DIA in Europe and the USA?
More than 2000 members took part in DIA China, including the delegates from international companies from Europe and the USA, interested in entering the Chinese market. Exhibition part was pretty big but not as huge as at the DIA Annual meeting in the USA. Mostly there were stands of local CROs and other service companies, including IT companies, using neironet to develop products for the pharmaceutical industry.
The program mostly consisted of the FDA China (CFDA) presentations on regulatory changes in the Chinese pharmaceutical market, and presentations of the members of American and European regulatory authorities (FDA and EMA). Some of the sessions were in Chinese without interpretation, but generally the meeting was organized well enough for the foreign listeners.
What are the specifics of the pharmaceutical market in China?
The market is now developing very fast, last year the pharmaceutical industry was reformed. China joined ICH countries and is now adopting international drug development and clinical trials standards. Life level grew up very much during the last 20 years; there is a wealthy middle class and a demand for “Western” medicine.
Before that, foreign companies had problems with drug registration, the process was really long and complicated, including necessary conduct of confirmatory studies in Chinese population. Now China is interested in getting their original products to the international market as fast as possible. The international format of the CTD dossier was adopted and the fast-track mechanism is now being implemented for registration of the life-saving drugs. But control and protection of the patent rights is still a problem.
Were Russian companies taking part in the exhibition program of DIA China?
There were few Russian companies there. We all were delegates to the conference. I think, it is because of the miths about the policy of protectionism and bureaucraticl barriers. But you change your mind and look differently after conversation with the local business representatives.
Chinese pharmaceutical manufacturers are interested in entering the Russian market. But many companies that supply us with drugs registered them before 2010, when there were no requirements for conducting local clinical trials. They, like us, are also afraid of bureaucratic and language barriers.
What was the most memorable thing in this trip?
It is definitely Beijing, which makes an unforgettable impression. It is a modern huge metropolis with skyscrapers and IT technologies implementedin the everyday life. The scale is marvelous, everything there is bigger than here in ten or even hundred times: pharmaceutical market, number of companies and its employees.
The Chinese are very friendly and socially active. From business connections point of view, it is very useful, everyone prefers to communicate via a special messenger app WeChat, avoiding unnecessary formalities.
We will monitor the rapid development of the Chinese market and establish cooperation with Chinese pharmaceutical and research companies.