Physician and Payer Perspectives as Smoking and Pollution Perils Point to Sharply Increasing COPD Incidence

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has become a leading case of mortality and morbidity in China, especially in the northern and eastern region of the country where air pollution is prevalent and coal burning is common during the cold winter. These factors are exacerbated by an ever-increasing smoking population. The issue of poor air quality in China raised national concern with the recent release of a documentary on air pollution, called “Under the Dome,” which received over 100 million views online. Unfortunately, there has been a lack of novel COPD therapies in the past decade in China. The treatment options for COPD patients remain similar to those available ten years ago, dominated by long-acting beta2 agonist/inhaled corticosteroid fixed-dose combinations (LABA/ICS FDCs). Many drugs available in mature pharmaceutical markets, such as the once-daily LABA/ICS FDC Relvar (GlaxoSmithKline) and long-acting beta2 agonist/long-acting muscarinic antagonist combinations (LABA/LAMA FDCs), are not yet available in China. The resulting high demand for new and improved COPD medicines in China presents great opportunity for multinational pharmaceutical companies that plan on expanding their presence in this space in the Chinese market.

Questions Answered in This Report:

  • Current therapies for COPD in China: What are Chinese pulmonologists’ drugs of choice across different lines of therapy? What are the typical prescribing patterns of LABAs and LAMAs in the current treatment algorithms? What is the current brand share within each drug class? How will these change by 2018 after entry of new therapies? What clinical and reimbursement barriers do physicians face in prescribing COPD drugs?

  • Emerging therapies for COPD in China: How do payers and prescribers perceive the usage and expected price of emerging LABA/LAMA FDCs? How will current prescribing practices be affected by the launch of emerging agents and generic versions of LABA/ICS FDCs?

  • Market access opportunities and challenges of COPD drugs in China: Which agents are currently included on the National Reimbursement Drug List (NRDL) and/or Provincial Reimbursement Drug Lists (PRDLs), and what reimbursement restrictions apply? What therapies do payers expect to be included in the new versions of the NRDL and/or PRDLs? What are payers’ views on the pricing and reimbursement landscape for emerging COPD therapies? What challenges will manufacturers face in the domestic market? How will market access barriers evolve, and what challenges are companies likely to face in the future in China?


This Emerging Markets Physician & Payer Forum report explores the market access opportunities and obstacles that will impact the treatment of COPD in China in the next two to three years.

Markets covered: China.

Primary research: This report draws on insights from 51surveyed pulmonologists as well as interviews with payers who influence pricing and reimbursement decisions. Payers come from the following backgrounds:

- Advisor, Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, Beijing.

- Advisor, Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, Anhui.

- Advisor, Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, Henan.

Epidemiology: Prevalence of COPD.

Emerging therapies: Phase III: 3 drugs; preregistration: 2 drugs.

Author(s): Michael Yeung, M.Sc.

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