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John Funnell

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The Future of Pharma Is Asia

Asia has become a more attractive place to conduct clinical trials

Reshaping the pharmaceutical industry's quality standards is currently the top priority for the Chinese government. Earlier announcements by its Ministry of Health to issue new tougher Good Manufacturing Processes (GMP) standards for medical products comes at the right time as current regulations do not meet international standards which result in poor performance by Chinese companies in the international market. In order to respond to these GMP changes, Chinese manufacturers however are in urgent need to upgrade their facilities and technologies, as failure to comply will result in closure. The NGP Asia committee has called an emergency meeting to combat the current situation.

Asia has become a more attractive place to conduct clinical trials (CT) but as it grows so do the challenges. For pharmaceutical companies, Contract Research Organizations (CROs) or Central laboratories (CL) the biggest challenge is keeping trials on track, on time and on budget; all three are key to global competitiveness. In the last 10 years Asia has been targeted by pharmaceutical companies from across the globe who wish to take advantage of the region's ethnic diversity and huge population to test their medicines at an affordable price. Asia has now moved to a position where they can challenge to become the number one contender for CT, the US.

The NGP Asia Committee, who will be meeting at the NGP Asia summit believes the revitalized competitiveness of Asia is down to two main factors: "Firstly, conducting trials in the west is increasingly expensive. Secondly, there is scepticism over trial involvement by western consumers and difficulties in finding the right kind of patients."

The committee will be made of representatives from A-Bio - Steven Lee, CEO, Novartis - Kalai Kalaiarasan, Head Supply Chain Mgmt APAC, Africa, ME & Greater China, AstraZeneca - Uma Nandan Misra, VP Operations, Celltrion - Daniel Slone, VP Manufacturing and Eisai Inc. - Sanjit Singh Lamba, President.

With the US seeing $110 billion in global sales exposed to generic competition for the top 50 pharmaceutical companies through to 2014, branded pharma must look to emerging markets, biologics and continued cost-saving initiatives to drive growth according to Analysts.

The top 50 pharma companies are forecast to experience a US sales decline of 1.3 percent year-on-year, with sales falling from US$228 billion to US$214 billion. However, major markets outside the US are forecast to grow by 2.4 percent year-on-year, offsetting the US decline. Emerging markets are forecast to experience double-digit growth rates over the next few years, with an average year-on-year growth rate of 12 percent. It is this growth rate that will see Asia fill the gap.

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John Funnell has worked in online media for over ten years, after achieving his First Class BSC Hons Degree (BBC Sponsored), John won Bos 18-21 Princess Trust Entrepeneur of the year at 21, setting up Clean Living Records Ltd (including www.BeatReview.com) with great success having many acts that charted in Europe and Canada. After selling the business John looked for a new challenge and joined GDS International, having a successful career in sales and Delegate acquisition, he worked up to Event Director EMEA, forging contacts with some of the biggest technology names in the world, this lead to John having a lead role in the creation of MeettheBoss.com and MeettheBoss.tv – the worlds largest business IPTV channel. John then took over as Marketing and Communications Director and ran a multifaceted global Marketing team for GDS International in New York, Sydney, Kuala Lumper and the UK.. John joined Global in 2011 with the challenge of supporting its growth by developing a solid Marketing foundation through various Digital, PR and brand initiatives.