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Merger the Right Medicine for Bayer
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Bayer Schering Pharmaceuticals China expects to maintain growth of over 30 percent in the market, as the merger of the healthcare units of Bayer and Schering nears completion.


Liam Condon, managing director of Bayer Healthcare China and chief of Bayer Schering Pharmaceuticals China, said Bayer Schering saw growth of about 50 percent in 2005 and is targeting a further 30 to 50 percent this year.


The company booked sales of 1.8 billion yuan last year, and is one of the fastest growing foreign drug makers.


"Our business scale (this year) will be much larger than last year's for sure," said Condon.


China's pharmaceutical market will grow by 14.4 percent this year on 2006, according to US healthcare industry research company IMS Health.


Bayer and Schering were both ranked about 10th among foreign pharmaceutical firms in China in 2005. The merger took the company into the top four.


Bayer took 88 percent of German drugmaker Schering last year to become the seventh-biggest specialty drug maker in the world.


Condon said it had wrapped up registration of the new legal entities in China earlier this month.


Bayer said earlier it would shed 6,100 jobs from its healthcare unit as a result of the merger. But Condon said it would instead add 500 jobs to the existing 2,000.


It has also spent 200 million yuan to double the capacity of its Beijing factory, which should be ready by early 2008.


The Chinese pharmaceutical market is shifting focus from antibiotics to treatment for cancers, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, and diabetes. Bayer Schering also plans to introduce more of its blockbuster medicines to the Chinese market.


It will introduce 20 products in five years, including Bayer's top three blockbusters, which contributed 2.57 billion euros for the company last year.


The drugmaker has been doing clinical trials of almost 30 products in China to expedite the registration process.


(China Daily August 21, 2007)


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