Making the most of opportunity: Pharmaceutical strategy in Asia

June 10, 2019


Making the most of opportunity: Pharmaceutical strategy in Asia

June 10, 2019

Michael Hoffmann


Michael was an editor for The Economist Intelligence Unit’s thought leadership division in the Americas. He was previously an equity research analyst covering cybersecurity, data networking, cloud computing and IT infrastructure. He has also worked on several grants from the National Institutes of Health to research topics including HIV/AIDS, non-communicable diseases and international human rights law. His work has been published in several peer-reviewed journals including AIDS Care, Global Public Health and the Journal of the International AIDS Society. He received his bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Brown University. He has worked in Latin America and is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese. 

The growth potential of Asia’s pharmaceutical markets is astounding. Indeed, pharmaceutical spending in the region is projected to rise faster than GDP. However, pharmaceutical companies face a variety of strategic challenges. Making the most of opportunity: Pharmaceutical strategy in Asia, an Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) report sponsored by the Singapore Economic Development Board, explores how pharmaceutical companies operating in Asia can best navigate opportunities for continued expansion.

For the countries covered in this study—China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam—the size of the aggregate pharmaceutical market rose by 28% between 2012 and 2017. The EIU projects that figure to be 42% from 2018 to 2022.

Drawing on a survey of more than 500 senior executives in the life sciences, pharmaceutical, biotechnology and healthcare sectors, in-depth interviews with six corporate leaders and industry experts, and substantial desk research, this report’s key findings are:

  • Survey respondents believe that pharma’s ability to meet Asia’s growing needs leaves the sector poised for growth.
  • Companies are pursuing multiple paths to growth.
  • The “Asian market” is a misnomer: firms need to think locally.
  • The diversity and opportunities within the region require companies to develop local strengths while partnering effectively.
  • For larger companies with regional strategies, executives can co-ordinate activity across the region and integrate it into global operations.
  • The challenges to drug development and delivery are evolving.

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