A drug for curing hepatitis B, made in China by global pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, will go on sale in pharmacies in the Chinese mainland this month.
Heptodin, one of the major drugs produced by GlaxoSmithKline, has been approved for sale on the mainland, according to a corporate executive for Asia and Pacific operations with the company at a news briefing held over the weekend in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province.
Chinese patients suffering from hepatitis B previously relied on imported heptodin to cure their disease, but the cost of the medicine was high: 266 yuan (about US$32.1) for 100 tablets of heptodin.
GlaxoSmithKline spent 1.2 billion yuan (about US$145 million) to build a heptodin production base in Suzhou Industrial Park, east China's Jiangsu Province.
With the localization, the retail price for 100-tablet boxes of heptodin go down to 242 yuan (about US$29.2), said sources from the news briefing.
Hepatitis B, which has been listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as one of the world's nine major fatal diseases, is mainly transmitted via blood transmission and body fluid.
Guangdong ranks first in China, with the hepatitis B incidence rate amounting to 17.85 percent.
(Xinhua News Agency November 13, 2001)