Biomedicine firms raise R&D investment, striving to break foreign monopoly
Published: Aug 28, 2023 09:29 PM
Wang Hailin, head of the Shuikou township hospital in Chongqing, prepares medicine for patients. Photo: Zhao Yusha/GT

Wang Hailin, head of the Shuikou township hospital in Chongqing, prepares medicine for patients. Photo: Zhao Yusha/GT

As of Monday, 285 Chinese A-share listed biopharmaceutical companies had released interim reports, which showed that most had achieved net profit growth. The companies also spent more on research and development, striving to break the monopoly of foreign pharmaceutical groups and reduce dependence on imported equipment.

The interim statements showed that 186 of the 285 firms achieved year-on-year growth in net profit. In terms of revenue, 12 companies reported revenue of more than 10 billion yuan ($137 million) and another 102 had revenue exceeding 1 billion yuan.

During the past three years of the pandemic, people paid rising attention to their health and were willing to spend more on medical care, which pushed up the profits of pharmaceuticals, an industry insider told the Global Times on condition of anonymity.

Despite the rapid development of Chinese biopharmaceutical companies, China still relies heavily on foreign pharmaceuticals and devices. According to AskCI Consulting, about 70 percent of high-end medical equipment in China is imported.

Chinese companies are increasing their R&D investment to change this situation. According to a report by Caijing Magazine, among the top 10 industries for A-share listed companies, R&D biopharmaceutical personnel received the highest salaries on average.

Biopharmaceutical companies are also generous in their R&D investment. Last year, 56 representative biopharmaceutical companies listed on the A-share market had 27,000 R&D personnel, accounting for 22.6 percent of all employees. Their average annual salary stood at 363,000 yuan.

The Chinese government is encouraging pharmaceutical innovation. On Friday, the State Council, the cabinet, approved plans to support the development of the pharmaceutical and medical equipment industries.

The plan aims to enhance Chinese companies' ability to produce advanced medicines and develop high-end medical equipment. 

The Chinese government is seeking to raise investment in basic researches, together with enterprises' investment in R&D, so Chinese pharmaceutical companies can produce most of the commonly used drugs and end foreign dominance, an industry insider told the Global Times.

"The development of the biopharmaceutical industry is on the right path, and I hope it can move faster," the insider said.

Global Times