OTC Pharmaceuticals & Pharmacy Retailing in China 2010: A Market AnalysisAccess Asia
July 9, 2010
125 Pages - SKU: ACS2735071
Additional InformationExecutive Summary
China has a large and fast-growing OTC pharmaceuticals industry. The total OTC pharmaceuticals retail market increased to RMB72.02bn in 2009, and the market is expected to surpass RMB100bn by 2013. Retail sales value of OTC drugs expanded by 102% between 2003 and 2009.
Increasing public awareness about health care and the importance of self-medication as well as the rapid rise in urban living standards and growing disposable income levels are combining to allow for the increased purchase of OTC pharmaceuticals and consequently propelling growth in the market.
China’s USD 124bn healthcare reform, announced in April 2009, will boost demand for pharmaceutical products ranging from generic drugs to medical equipment. The long-term implication of the healthcare reform on the OTC pharmaceuticals retail market and the pharmacy retailing market is still too early to tell.
However, anecdotal evidence has suggested a 40-60% decline in store traffic in some of the drugstores located in places that have implemented the healthcare reform. As part of the healthcare reform, essential drugs are to be sold at government hospitals at wholesale prices.
Drugstores will benefit immensely from the healthcare reform only when there is a clear separation of drug dispensing and prescribing. In the meantime, drugstores are looking at ways to improve their thinning margins. Some have turned to the internet and some to private label. Most of them are now selling other non-pharmaceutical products such as personal care, family care and convenience products.
The weakness of retail prices, caused by intense competition, continues to put pressure on retailer’s margins, forcing them to consolidate further.
Consolidation is being hampered by the low barrier of entry into this sector. As it is easy for new entrants to come into the market, the country is seeing an oversupply of drugstores. In Guangzhou alone, there is one drugstore for every 1,500 people. As the market share of the top 10 drugstore chains remains low, no chains will be dominating the pharmacy market for the foreseeable future.
In 2009, the drugs retail market stood at RMB136bn, up 119% over 2003. The drugs retail market is expected to grow by 56% in constant value terms between 2010 and 2015.
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