High Regulation and Low Certainty: Marketing Strategy Challenges for the Pharmaceutical Industry in China

Sharon Thach

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The opening of China to foreign pharmaceutical companies created essentially a new market where the “rules of the game” were not previously established for the particular industrial setting. The regulations governing access to prescription drugs, the role of pharmaceuticals in providing funding for hospitals and clinics, and the low oversight of company practices resulted in a system of mutual corruption, high competition, and shifting regulatory and legal formalities. As the movement to open access to pharmaceuticals to non-hospital purveyors and the attention of Chinese authorities to certain industry practices has proceeded, the industry environment has changed significantly. Four possible new competitive models for pharmaceutical companies are evaluated.

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Round Building

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