Restructuring the Production of Medicines: An Investigation on the Pharmaceutical Sector in China and the Role of Mergers and Acquisitions

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2017 Oct 5;14(10):1179. doi: 10.3390/ijerph14101179.


In places like China, an ageing population coupled with changes in living standards and increases in disposable income, imply a shift of the demand for health-related goods and services which is likely to affect the whole organization of the industries that supply such goods and services at the global level. One of the industries most likely to be affected is the pharmaceutical sector. In the early 2000s China was already the second largest global producer of pharmaceutical ingredients. The pharmaceutical sector has become one of the most important industries promoted by the Chinese government and Five-Year Plan of China's Strategic Emerging Sectors, mergers and acquisition (M&A) activity has been the key strategy to restructure the sector and increase its competitiveness. This paper firstly provides an updated picture of the evolution of M&As in the pharmaceutical sector, compared to other sectors, in China in the period 2005-2013. Secondly, we develop a composite indicator to measure the industrial performance of all Chinese industrial sectors over time, which allows us to assess the performance of the pharmaceutical industry compared to that of other sectors of the Chinese economy. Finally, we develop and estimate an empirical model that tests the relationship between the number of M&A in a sector and its performance, with a particular focus on the pharmaceutical case. The results offer some initial evidence of positive effects from the process of restructuring of the pharmaceutical sector in China.

Keywords: A; China; M& composite indicators; industrial policies; industry; mergers and acquisition; pharmaceutical.

MeSH terms

  • China
  • Commerce
  • Drug Costs / trends
  • Drug Industry / organization & administration*
  • Drug Industry / trends
  • Humans
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / economics*


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations