Report from Asia - Pharmaceutical Technology

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Packaging is indeed headed to be a lead sector in the Asian pharmaceutical environment, but certain challenges must first be overcome.

Pharmaceutical Technology
pp. 14-16

Packaging is indeed headed to be a lead sector in the Asian pharmaceutical environment, but certain challenges must first be overcome.

Asia is a key driving force of the current global pharmaceutical industry. In recent years, healthcare demands among the region's populations have increased and its low operating costs continue to attract pharmaceutical companies. The pharmaceutical packaging sector, in particular, has grown and matured in line with the emergence of China and India as pharmaceutical manufacturing leaders, according to Warwick Bedwell, president of pharmaceutical packaging systems (Asia–Pacific) at West Pharmaceutical Services. Packaging is indeed headed to be a leading sector in the Asian pharmaceutical environment, but certain challenges must first be overcome.

For starters, trends and developments within the region vary from one market to another. Joerg Doescher, sales director Asia of SCHOTT Pharmaceutical Packaging explains: "Emerging markets such as China and India show strong growth and are moving towards a trend of higher quality requirements. Mature markets such as Japan experience slower growth rates that are driven mainly by developments in the field of biotech solutions."

Interestingly, a fragmented Asian market opens doors for diversified business opportunities and approaches whether they are through alliances, joint ventures, or acquisitions. But before a company can expect to be successful throughout the Asian region, it has to establish a local presence. Unlike the European and US markets, centralized production is necessary to learn directly from customers and to address local market needs.

Companies "have to be clear about their product roadmap and product life-cycle management in order to be prepared for the market launch of packaging solutions that address future customer demands. Excellent customer relationships are essential to gain insights to local trends and developments to offer suitable products in time," says Doescher.

This strategy explains why SCHOTT, based in Elmsford, New York, built a production site within an existing one in Suzhou to promote faster production of their glass products and to gain authority in the high-end Chinese market. The company's joint venture with Kaisha Manufacturers in Mumbai, India, allowed it to enter the Indian market and provided an opportunity to foster close proximity with customers, opinion leaders, and shareholders. Another example is West Pharmaceutical Services, which is building a second manufacturing facility in Qingpu, China, to prepare for meeting the needs of the Chinese and Indian markets when production begins in 2013.


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