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First Indian anti-cancer drug launches in China

Published on 15/10/21 at 10:14am

The first Indian anti-cancer drug, Abiraterone Acetate API, has launched in China, by Dr Reddy’s Laboratories.

This breakthrough was announced in a tweet by India’s ambassador, Vikram Misri, which read: “Some good news this week – a breakthrough for the Indian pharmaceutical industry in China as Abiraterone by Dr Reddy’s becomes the first anti-cancer drug from India to enter the Chinese market.”

This represents an effort to meet the demand for cancer drugs in China. Although the country has a lower cancer incidence compared to the UK and USA, they have a higher cancer mortality rate. According to the Chinese Medical Journal, China accounted for 24% of newly diagnosed cases, and 30% of the cancer-related deaths worldwide in 2020.

Beijing and New Delhi agreed in 2018 to cut tariffs on the import of Indian medicines, including anti-cancer drugs, which have high demand in China as they are cheaper than Western medicines, as reported by Chemrobotics.

This is a significant achievement for the Indian pharmaceutical industry, as it has been a persistent demand of India to grant greater access to drugs from Indian to Chinese markets.

Abiraterone Acetate is on WHO’s list of essential medicines, which are the safest and most effective medicines needed in a health system. The drug is a therapeutic generic version of Zytiga owned by J&J, and it received FDA approval for the treatment of metastatic prostate cancer in 2011. Dr Reddy’s drug is available in 250mg tablets, in bottle count sizes of 120.  

The Zytiga brand and generic market had US sales of approximately $450 million for the most recent twelve months ending in March 2020, according to IQVIA health, highlighting the importance of this launch for the company.

Lina Adams

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