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ASEAN experience in going out of Chinese medicine service trade

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Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines are China's six major pharmaceutical export partners in ASEAN, accounting for 96.72% of total exports. Western medicine products account for nearly 70% of China's total exports to ASEAN. The Chinese medicine products exported by China to ASEAN are mainly Chinese herbal medicine pieces, health foods and extracts. The demand for Chinese medicine products and services is strong in ASEAN countries, and Chinese Chinese medicine companies are also accelerating the pace of “going out” and actively exploring the ASEAN market.
 
 
 
Three forms of Chinese medicine service trade
 
 
 
The “going out” of Chinese medicine service trade mainly includes three kinds of service trade supply modes: cross-border payment, commercial presence and natural person flow.
 
 
 
Cross-border payments. The Chinese medicine cross-border payment service trade supply model mainly focuses on Chinese medicine education cooperation. For example, Beijing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Singapore Nanyang Technological University offer cooperation in Chinese medicine education to provide Chinese medicine education services to students from Singapore and other countries in ASEAN.
 
 
 
Business presence provides a model. The mode of providing traditional Chinese medicine business is mainly to open chain pharmacies, clinics, Chinese medicine hospitals, Chinese medicine education institutions and institutions or offices related to Chinese medicine. Chinese medicine enterprises represented by Beijing Tongrentang have opened a number of chain pharmacies in ASEAN. Some Chinese have opened Chinese medicine clinics. Some Chinese medicine universities have cooperated with ASEAN countries to set up educational institutions.
 
 
 
Natural person flow provides a mode. The natural person mobility model mainly provides Chinese medicine practitioners to some medical care institutions in ASEAN countries to provide Chinese medicine services. Some Chinese medicine teachers provide teaching services, short-term training, and Chinese medicine practitioners to relevant enterprises or institutions in ASEAN countries.
 
 
 
Entering ASEAN opportunities and challenges
 
 
 
From the perspective of the pharmaceutical market, there are many factors in the ASEAN countries that are not conducive to the development of Chinese pharmaceutical companies. One of the reasons why Chinese pharmaceutical companies have not yet entered the ASEAN market is the lack of in-depth, systematic and comprehensive understanding and judgment of the ASEAN market and the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area policy. The comprehensive completion of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area has boosted bilateral pharmaceutical trade. Tariffs will no longer be the main obstacle to the pharmaceutical trade between the two sides. The main obstacles come from some non-tariff barriers.
 
 
 
First of all, ASEAN countries have set different standards for access to drugs, and have not yet formed a mutual recognition mechanism, which has seriously hindered the smooth development of bilateral pharmaceutical trade. Thailand's drug quality standards are usually based on Thailand, the United States, the United Kingdom and the International Pharmacopoeia, and partly refer to the Japanese Pharmacopoeia and the Chinese Pharmacopoeia; Singapore's drug registration is mainly implemented under the broad framework of its drug law; in Malaysia, all production, Imported and sold drugs and cosmetics must be registered, and the license system should be administered to producers, wholesalers and importers; Vietnam’s regulatory policy for the pharmaceutical industry is opaque. Although it allows foreign manufacturers to set up offices and directly import drugs, However, distribution in the country is prohibited.
 
 
 
Drug registration and trade in ASEAN is not a day's work. However, it is worth noting that the ASEAN Summit held in Vietnam in April 2010 has negotiated ASEAN's unified medical technology standards, and the “ASEAN General Technical Document” is the only format for pharmaceutical companies to submit drug approval applications to the 10 ASEAN countries. After the standards are unified, the drugs exported to ASEAN can be used in other ASEAN countries only by applying for certification from one country. This is a trend and a positive factor.
 
 
 
Secondly, it is still difficult for China's pharmaceutical products to enter the mainstream channels of local government procurement and public hospitals. The products of individual companies have successfully entered the medical insurance system of some countries in ASEAN. This is only a case. Among them are the problems of weak market development, the problem of local registration thresholds, and some political factors. It is necessary for all parties to make great efforts together to promote solutions.
 
 
 
Third, the political environment in some countries is unstable, the prevalence of counterfeit drugs, the lack of the International Pharmacopoeia (IP) system, and the inability of government management to keep up, have become a major obstacle for Chinese companies to enter ASEAN.
 
 
 
The good news is that in the field of Chinese medicine, the complementarity of the industries of China and ASEAN is outstanding, and the potential for cooperation is huge. For example, the abundant medicinal plant resources of ASEAN countries can alleviate the pressure brought by many Chinese medicine companies in China due to the rising cost of medicines.
 
 
 
Major obstacles to development
 
 
 
The main obstacles to development are the legal status of Chinese medicine in ASEAN countries, the qualification recognition of Chinese medicine service providers and the right to operate, which are manifested in the two aspects of domestic regulation and market access, policy measures and specific implementation issues. .
 
 
 
In the Agreement on Trade in Services of the Free Trade Zone signed by China and ASEAN in 2007, the fourth paragraph of Article 5 “Domestic Regulations”, “the measures to ensure the relevant qualification requirements and procedures, technical standards and licensing requirements do not constitute Unnecessary barriers to trade in services, Parties shall jointly consider the outcome of negotiations on these disciplinary measures in accordance with Article VI, paragraph 4, of the GATS, in order to incorporate these measures into this Agreement. Parties have noted such disciplinary The following requirements are specifically guaranteed: (i) based on objective and transparent criteria, such as the ability and qualifications to provide services; (ii) not to exceed the burden necessary to ensure the quality of service; (iii) in the case of licensing procedures, The procedure itself does not become a limitation on the provision of services.” And in paragraph 6, “In a sector that has made specific commitments to professional services, each Party shall establish appropriate procedures to verify the competence of any other professional.”
 
 
 
Although China and ASEAN have signed a principled guidance on “domestic regulation” and “market access” in the Agreement on Trade in Services in the Free Trade Area, there is a specific commitment to the existence of commercial services and the flow of natural persons in the service trade of Chinese medicine. Less, the level of commitment of countries with commitments is not high, and it has become a major obstacle to the further development of TCM service trade in ASEAN countries. For example, Thai legislation recognizes the legitimacy of TCM medical treatment, but does not give it the legal status of TCM medical institutions. At present, the so-called “Chinese Medicine Hospital” in Thailand is legally registered as a Thai medical hospital, that is to say, it is a TCM hospital registered in Thai medicine. medical service.