Insight into the state of the biopharma industry in Asia-Pacific

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BCG Expert Interview: John Wong, Senior Partner & Managing Director, BCG gives his insight into the state of the biopharmaceutical industry in the Asia-Pacific region in this in depth interview.

Who is John Wong? As chairman of Asia-Pacific for BCG, John oversees the firm's offices throughout the region. He is an expert in the biopharmaceutical sector within BCG's Health Care practice and has worked with global pharmaceutical companies across the key markets in Asia. Before BCG, John worked in research and development for the Milliken Research Corporation, where he specialized in modeling the non-Newtonian fluid mechanics of chemicals systems.

Question 1:

What importance do the Asian markets have for biopharma companies?

The Asia-Pacific region includes many sizeable markets, several of which are growing at a rate that will likely be higher than that of the market in the United States and those of other more mature markets over the next five to ten years. Although the United States will remain the largest market for multinational biopharma companies, more of the future absolute growth will come from Asia.

Because the requirements for success in the largest Asian markets—China, Japan, and India—are different in each of these countries, it has been difficult for biopharma companies in general to be successful in all of these key markets simultaneously. For example, China and India are significant emerging markets that have large unmet demand and a growing number of consumers. Although both hold the bulk of the generic products market, the Chinese market is quite different from India's in the way generic drugs from the originators are treated and reimbursed.

In contrast, the Indian market, which is mostly self-pay, affords no privileged position for originator generics. Therefore the selling model and economics for multinational-company drugs in China are completely different from the selling model and economics needed in India. Further, because both markets are in various stages of health care reform, the requisites for success will change over the next five years.

Consequently, biopharma companies can continue to look to Asia for growth but must ensure that their business model and capabilities are in line with each country's trends.

Read the full interview here

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For more on what's happening in Asia, read about our Annual Asian Biopharmaceutical Industry Report