Authorities in Guangdong, China have changed medical regulations in the province to allow individuals to invest in the pharmaceutical sector. Previously, only enterprises, or companies were allowed to apply for licenses to produce medicines. Individuals desiring to invest in pharmaceuticals needed to form a company or join an existing pharmaceuticals manufacturer in order to receive a license. In June 2003, Guangdong was the first province in Mainland China to allow individual investors in the pharmaceuticals industry.
Six categories of medicines are currently being encouraged by the Chinese government for investment and development. Among these include: modern Chinese medicines, drugs for genetic engineering, AIDS drugs, anti-epidemic drugs, and drugs meant for export. However, the allowance of individual investors is not expected to lower the current regulatory standards. The Chinese government is determined to maintain and implement more safety measures to protect consumers. A senior official from Guangdong’s medicine supervision bureau added that pharmaceutical factories investing less than 10 million RMB (US$1.2 million) would most likely not receive production licenses. Currently, there are 400 medical plants in Guangdong; most are operated by private companies.