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Over the last few years, a number of factors converged to expand healthcare opportunities in China.
First, China’s leaders have evolved the healthcare policy so that more citizens have access to health insurance as well as the care and treatments they need.
Specifically, an additional 832 million people in rural areas now have access to healthcare, and the government has also adjusted pricing to better reflect the economic status of this group, hence the market is growing albeit at a lower price point than prior years. At the same time, growing affluence in more urban areas is expanding the market for branded medications.
Finally, it is clear that more services and proven treatments will be needed throughout China as chronic conditions such as diabetes, arthritis and coronary heart disease become more prevalent. As healthcare reform proceeds, access to patient population will increase, while the overall cost of pharmaceuticals will decrease as more and more products come under the regime of government pricing.
In the past, the vast majority of branded drugs were sold in Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities, but now the market has both expanded geographically and the potential customer base has become more diverse.
Recently Accenture collaborated with Synovate Healthcare to conduct two studies on preferred communication channels of physicians. Our goals were to understand physicians’ attitudes toward alternative channels for obtaining information; understand physicians’ communication needs and preferences; and understand their working environment and constraints.
This article provides the key findings and insights of our research, analyzes the implications for pharmaceutical companies and suggests potential steps for companies to consider in developing a sales model that balances traditional and alternative sales channels.
Several themes emerged from our research. We found that alternative channels might be successful in the Chinese market, although it will require patience and a targeted, cautious approach to testing and implementing new channels in order to mitigate risks of switching. The findings that can help companies develop a winning alternative channel strategy are:
December 21, 2011
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