Over the past 30 years, China’s extraordinary economic development has lifted hundreds of millions of Chinese out of poverty. However, this progress has come at a significant environmental cost. Pollution has led to a multitude of health issues in China — such as cancer, respiratory infections and heart diseases — causing up to 1.2 million premature deaths annually. The Chinese market for drugs and medical devices that can treat and mitigate pollution related illnesses is expanding quickly, and Western pharmaceutical and medical device companies can benefit if they enter the market now.
Lung cancer rates increase approximately 30% every year. This is leading to more demand for lung cancer treatments, such as radiation therapy equipment, chemotherapy drugs and surgical instruments. As pollution-related heart disease rates grow, medical devices to treat heart diseases — like pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators — will also see significant market growth. Pharmaceutical products, such as vasodilators and beta blockers, are also expected to do very well in China.
Respiratory illnesses are also increasingly widespread in China. Demand is growing for inhalers and nebulizer devices for asthma. Eye drops, decongestants and antihistamines are doing well in the Chinese medical market. Additionally, many Chinese use products such as face masks, humidifiers and indoor air filters. China’s largest online shopping website reported that in 2013, Chinese spent more than $140 million on products, like air purifiers, that could be used to mitigate the effects of pollution.
Hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens are desperate for medical devices and products that can help mitigate, treat and/or block the effects of pollution. As pollution related diseases become increasingly common in China, quality Western pharmaceutical and medical device products targeted towards this market segment should experience strong Chinese demand.
For more information, please see PBM’s recent article on Pollution in China.