- Development and manufacturing of innovative drugs are the most important social responsibilities of R&D-based pharmaceutical enterprises
[December 29, 2015, Beijing] The R&D-based Pharmaceutical Association Committee under the China Association of Enterprise with Foreign Investment (RDPAC) published the report of corporate social responsibilities for its members. The report considers that the products and services of pharmaceutical industry are closely related to people’s health and that the development and manufacturing of high-quality innovative drugs in urgent demand of the people and the timely, safe and efficacious application in the patients represent the most important social responsibilities of R&D-based pharmaceutical enterprises.
As noted by Joseph Cho, president of the RDPAC, “After a hundred years of operation in global markets, we have become deeply aware that for R&D-based pharmaceutical enterprises, safeguarding health is the foundation of our business operation. Introducing and developing innovative drug products needed in China, safeguarding and improving product quality and safety standards, expanding the accessibility of high quality medical services and driving diverse and multi-tiered medical service demand represent the foundation of our sustainable development in China and our core social responsibilities.”
Currently, RDPAC members invest a total of about RMB 8 billion yuan in research and development activities in China on an annual basis, which represents about 10% of their total revenues in China, or 30% of total R&D expenditure of all large-and medium-sized pharmaceutical enterprises in China in 2012 (including indigenous and multinational firms). The more than 30 R&D centers established by its members in China have been focusing on critical illnesses and unmet medical needs for China over the years, with R&D priorities identical with those identified by the Chinese government; meanwhile, it has carried out extensive cooperation with local research institutions, CROs and pharmaceutical enterprises in an effort to create a sustainable pharmaceutical innovation ecosystem in order to better serve Chinese patients. With regards to quality, the RDPAC members have adopted globally consistent high standards and management systems of drug quality and safety embedded throughout the entire life-cycle of drug products including such links as R&D, manufacturing, distribution and consumption and have been actively assisting China in enhancing the quality and safety standards of pharmaceutical industry.
The report considers that addressing the difficulties of medical service accessibility entails comprehensive improvement in the service capabilities of China’s medical and health care system and increasing the fairness and accessibility of medical services. On the basis of fully utilizing their advantageous resources, the RDPAC members are focused on the following areas of intervention: promoting the capacity building of medical personnel in order to improve the level of diagnosis and treatment, enhancing health education to strengthen disease prevention and treatment for the public, providing patient assistance and support to help patients receive therapies and achieving recovery, and increasing the supply of high-quality drug products in urgent medical demand in China through technology transfer. Although China’s population is 4.5 times greater than that of the United States, the number of highly educated physicians in China is only one fourth that of the United States. As a result, each and every highly educated physician in China has to serve a number of populations that is 18 times greater compared with that for physicians in United States. One of the priorities of the RDPAC members in promoting medical and health care service capabilities in China is to carry out trainings and academic exchanges to improve the level of diagnosis and treatment for physicians and especially grassroots medical personnel. By 2013, the existing 25 medical personnel training programs of RDPAC members have trained a total of more than 500,000 medical personnel almost entirely targeted at the grassroots and the poor regions of western China. With regards to mitigating the economic risks of illnesses, the RDPAC members have offered extensive assistance for common major illnesses such as lung cancer, breast cancer and leukemia. According to incomplete statistics, over the span of eight years between 2005 and 2013, RDPAC members have at least provided patient assistance worth RMB 35 billion yuan (including products and cash).
Over the past century, modern medicine has created medical miracles one after another, universally improved the health conditions of humanity, and witnessed the reduction of infant mortality rate and prolonged per capita life expectancy. Behind these miracles are the unremitting efforts of drug R&D scientists and enterprises. A study spanning across 20 years and encompassing 52 countries suggests that 40% of the increases in global per capita life expectancy can be attributed to new drug development and marketing. Many RDPAC member companies have entered into China for more than 20 years, continuously brought innovative drugs to Chinese patients, addressed unmet medical needs of major illnesses in China, introduced safer and more efficacious drug products, alleviated pains, prolonged lives, improved the quality of life for patients, and reduced medical costs. Over the span of two decades, the health level of the Chinese public swiftly increased with per capita life expectancy grown by six years and infant and maternal mortality rates down by 70%.
Mr Joseph Cho finally indicated that as the most populous country in the world, China not only has the medical security system with the widest coverage in the world but is also confronted with many serious challenges including ageing population and growing burdens of chronic non-communicable diseases. The RDPAC members will continue to develop high-quality innovative drugs, enhance the capabilities of physicians for medical treatment and make other necessary efforts to respond to these challenges together with the Chinese people and make the dream of building a “healthy China” come true. We firmly believe that health is not only the momentum of China’s development but the foundation of people’s happiness and our responsibility.