Diabetes rate world's highest

09:11, November 15, 2010      

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With 10 percent of China's population above 20 years of age suffering from diabetes, the nation holds great opportunities for related pharmaceutical producers, Lu Juming, a diabetes expert with the Chinese Medical Association, said Sunday.

  Based on a population of 1.3 billion people, China has more than 92 million diabetics, surpassing India as the country with the largest number of diabetics.

  Foreign pharmaceutical companies are eying the huge Chinese market. Danish company Novo Nordisk, a world leader in diabetes treatments, announced Friday that it would invest $100 million to enlarge its Beijing research center.

  The plan includes allocating between $30 million to $40 million into setting up labs and research facilities.

  A press release from Novo Nordisk said they would move R&D facilities to the new center in the second half of 2012. And the Beijing research center would become the company's biggest research center outside of Denmark.

  Diabetes-related medical costs in China, estimated at 173.4 billion yuan ($26.13 billion) per year currently, will skyrocket in the next 10 to 20 years as diabetes sufferers seek treatment, according to a report from Bloomberg.

  Novo Nordisk had a 35.4 percent of the Chinese diabetes medicine market during the period from April 2009 to March 2010. The company was followed by Bayer with 14.9 percent market share and Sanofi-aventis with 7.9 percent, according to data from US-based IMS Health, an information provider for the healthcare market.

  These diabetes' drug producers have stepped up investments in the Chinese market. French company Sanofi-aventis invested 600 million yuan ($90.41 million) this July to enlarge its insulin-manufacturing factory in Beijing.

  Another major player in the diabetes market, the US-based Eli Lilly and Company, announced earlier this month that it was planning to open a diabetes research center in China.

  And Germany-based Bayer also announced plans to expand its diabetes product lineup.

  "The number of diabetics is growing rapidly now, both in urban and rural areas, and about 60 percent of diabetes patients are not even aware they have the illness," said the Chinese Medical Association's Lu.

Source: Global Times


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