China Slashes Retail Prices for Specialized Pharmaceuticals

Starting in February 2013, pharmaceutical companies in China will see sales revenues drop as the country enacts its latest round of retail price cuts. The cuts — up to 20 percent for drugs like Merck’s asthma treatment Singulair — affect 400 drugs for pain relief, respiratory ailments and other specialized uses. This is the fourth round of retail drug price cuts implemented since 2011, and it is unlikely to be the last.

This means increased market pressure for multinational pharmaceutical corporations like Merck, Pfizer and Novartis, all of which have drugs on the list. Chief among the targeted drugs are “high-cost” and specialty drugs, like Pfizer’s antibiotic Zyvox and Novartis’ epilepsy drug Trileptal.