China is looking at ways to eradicate bottlenecks in drug development
China has long been furthering its ambitions to become a key player within the pharmaceutical industry. Despite a number of acquisitions and long-term investments, traditional bottlenecks remain within the development of drug which are delayed when entering the Chinese drug market.
Compulsory clinical trials of all developed drugs entering China has seen the country approve just over 100 new drugs in the last five years, which has been reported as a third of drugs within developed markets. It can take up to 7-8 years for overseas drugs to therefore enter the Chinese market.
The government is now looking at ways in which to support the growing industry, counteract high medicine costs and support its growing population by overhauling this traditional practice.
Beijing has recently stated that overhauling the ban on data from overseas clinical trials will further support the development of drugs in the country and see the rise of new treatments to support patients, reduce delays in treatment, increase potential revenue and further the country’s opportunities within the pharmaceutical sector amidst growing competition globally.
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“Overall, China’s support for scientific innovation with drugs and medical devices is lacking, and the quality of products on the market still falls short of top international levels,” China’s draft proposals have said.
“We must therefore speed up the examination and approval of urgently needed drugs and medical devices.”
Shares in Chinese drug makers rose upon the news announcement by over 6%.
Additionally, Bloomberg recently reported that the country will also be working on strengthening its hold on protecting its medical intellectual property to ensure that the changes do not affects its ongoing competitiveness in the market. The government has consequently stated that it will also look at implementing a new system which will connect drug approvals to patent status to further its ambitions in this space.
Dexcom: changing the lives of people with type 1 diabetes
It is estimated that 9.3% of adults around the world are living with type 1 diabetes, which amounts to a total of 463 million people. A further 1.1 million children and adolescents under the age of 20 are living with the condition.
Unlike the more prevalent type 2 diabetes, where the body still produces insulin and symptoms develop slowly, people with type 1 diabetes need regular insulin injections or pumps, and must monitor their sugar levels frequently.
In recent years a number of remote glucose monitoring systems have become available that patients can use at home. These work with a sensor, usually placed under the skin, that measures glucose levels every few minutes. This information is then transmitted wirelessly to a device like a smartphone or tablet, which can then be shared with their clinician.
British actress Nina Wadia's son Aidan, 14, has type 1 diabetes, and has been managing his condition using Dexcom, a glucose monitoring system used by patients all over the world. Here Wadia explains how Dexcom has improved their lives.
As a parent of someone with type 1 diabetes, what is your day-to-day life like?
Being able to take a breath, think and pivot constantly without getting frustrated becomes an essential mindset because sometimes it feels like each day is determined to be different from the day before. Whatever worked yesterday is going to misfire today.
Which areas of yours and Aidan’s life are most impacted by diabetes?
The one thing that you have to fight hard to reclaim is spontaneity, especially when it comes to food and exercise. It’s only when this is taken do you realise how essential each one is. You can be flexible and there are no real limits, but only in the sense that a great athlete can be flexible without limits because they’ve trained super hard to be that way. So we’ve all had to become athletes when it comes to being spontaneous.
How has Dexcom helped you and Aidan?
Dexcom has brought future science fiction to real life today. The continuous glucose monitoring system is tiny, sits discreetly on his body and gives him a ten-day breather between sensor changes, so it's goodbye finger-pricking seven times daily.
Dexcom is totally active at a grass roots level and for Diabetes Awareness has pledged to donate £2,000 if #DexcomDiabetesStories and/or #DexcomWarriorStories is shared 200 times! I’ll be sharing more on social media and would love to hear how other families are winning their fights.
Maybe most importantly Dexcom is trying to introduce a reimbursement programme for type 1 diabetes patients which will give greater access to modern, life changing hi-tech. I want to spread the word on the importance of accessing it through this campaign.
If you compared your life today with how it was before Aidan was using Dexcom, what has changed?
It's always working, which lets him take his mind off diabetes for longer stretches. It also lets me get off his back. We both receive alerts so I no longer have to pester him by asking him what his number is, and especially importantly, I don’t have to wake him at night to prick his finger if I’m worried. Dexcom gave us back our sleep!