China’s medicine manufacturers are preparing a huge push into the world market, to keep costs down and challenge the monopolists in the West who have controlled prices until now.
According to Associated Press, China rose to the world stage as a vaccine manufacturer in 2009 when a company came up with the first working vaccine for swine flu. AP says that in March earlier this year, the World Health Organization decided that the drug safety authority in China was up to par and could submit vaccines for approval – which would clear UN agencies, for example, to buy.
The biggest hurdle for China will be convincing the world that its products are safe. It’s had a long track record of high-profile food safety concerns, famously when milk powder killed children and poisoned hundreds of thousands of babies.
There are problems with cutting corners, too, according to critics – as there aren’t as many safeguards against dodgy drugs as in the West.
Regardless, the be-knighted William Gates, ex-MSFT, isn’t letting those concerns get in the way of his fight against the common mosquito. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is tied in with China’s grandiose entry into the field, and organisations like children’s agency UNICEF are already in talks with Chinese companies, reports AP.
Plenty of Chinese companies have noticed that the vaccine industry appears to be dominated by the Western world. Hopeful Chinese advocates believe that, once the stigma of Chinese products is ironed out, the country can do a lot of good work around the world while also becoming a chief export nation for vaccinations.
That includes undercutting the tight-knit pharmaceutical industry in the Europe and the US commonly called ‘Big Pharma’. Big Pharma is alleged to charge almost double for products made in its labs compared to other parts of the world.