A Record Number of Foreign Companies Win Bidding for China's 5th VBP of Drugs

by Grace Wang Jun 30, 2021

UPDATE: China's 6th Volume-based Procurment Focuses on Insulins

251 products from 148 companies won the bidding on June 23 in Shanghai for the latest and fifth round of China's national centralized drug procurement, also known as volume-based procurement. The bidding saw some record numbers. One of them is the unprecedented number of 10 international pharma companies successfully earning places in the procurement program.1

Around 50 foreign-funded companies took part in the bidding, among which 10 won in the price-slashing competition. The foreign winners' highest price reduction rate reached 87%. 

Price Reduction Rates of Products from Foreign Drugmakers Winning the Bidding

Foreign Company



Bidding Price/yuan

Price Cut

Cephalon Inc.

Bendamustine Hydrochloride for Injection

100mg*1 bottle per box



Sanofi-Aventis France

Oxaliplatin for Injection

50mg*1 bottle per box



GE Healthcare AS

Iohexol Injection

100ml:35g (I) *10 bottles per box




Fresenius Kabi AB

Fat Emulsion, Amino Acids(17) and Glucose(11%) Injection

1440ml*4 packages per box



B.Braun Melsungen AG

ω-3-Fish Oil Medium and Long Chain Fat Emulsion Injection

250ml*1 bottle



Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Limited

Bicalutamide Tablets

50mg*14 tablets per plate*2 plates per box



GE Healthcare AS

Iohexol Injection

100ml:30g (I) *10 bottles per box



GlaxoSmithKline (Ireland) Limited

Dutasteride Soft Capsules

0.5mg*10 capsules per box



Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation

Bepotastine Besilate Tablets

10mg*10 tablets*1 plate per box



B.Braun Melsungen AG

Medium and Long Chain Fat Emulsion Injection(C8-24Ve)

250ml (20%)*20 bottles per box



Leo Pharma A.S.

Alfacalcidol Soft Capsules

0.25μg*30 capsules per box



No participants can escape price plunges in the bidding. The companies in the 5th round "suffered" an average price cut of 56%, with the highest rate jumping over 98%.

The steep price cut may be why some foreign companies took a sluggish attitude towards the centralized procurement. But recent rounds of procurement saw more active moves of foreign participants as the bulk-buy program involves a larger market share that could impact the companies' income from their pharma businesses in China. 58 drugs with different specifications are involved in the 5th round of volume-based procurement, with their total value worth about 55 billion yuan based on the prices before procurement.

International pharma companies need to pay more attention to China's centralized drug procurement, which is expanding to cover more drugs. So far, 218 drugs have been involved in the five rounds of procurement, their value taking up more than 30% of the public healthcare institutions' procurement payout of all the chemical drugs. The numbers are inclined to rise as the National Healthcare Security Administration plans to push forward drug procurement.

Foreign companies also need to tackle challenges from some local Chinese companies, which produce generic drugs with high quality and relatively low prices. As the Chinese authorities have released two catalogs of encouraged generic drugs and promised policy support, local drugmakers get incentives to develop generics.

So, how to take the lead in the Chinese market? That's a question. ChemLinked BaiPharm is professional in facilitating market access for international pharma companies. Reach us via info@baipharm.com. We are always glad to share our expertise and insight.

Grace Wang
ChemLinked Regulatory Analyst & Editor
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