Chinese drug stocks dropped the most in a decade amid concern the government is driving down generic drug prices through a centralized procurement program.
CSPC Pharmaceutical Group Ltd., which is bidding to provide drugs to Chinese cities in the program, tumbled 14 percent at the close in Hong Kong Thursday, its biggest decline since 2008. Sino Biopharmaceutical Ltd. dropped almost 16 percent. The MSCI China Health Care Index fell 8.4 percent, the biggest decline since 2009.
Prices were cut substantially on drugs included in a government procurement list for orders from 11 major Chinese cities, the Shanghai Securities News reported, citing preliminary tender results. One hepatitis B drug saw a price cut of 90 percent while another made by Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine Co. was reduced by 60 percent, according to the report.
Domestic and foreign pharmaceuticals have opposed the centralized procurement plan since it was announced last month. While the government wants participating cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, to make purchases together to control costs, drugmakers such as France’s Sanofi said the program would create an over-reliance on the winning bidder for the supply of a drug, potentially causing quality and supply issues.
The selloff was fueled by speculation that one company had to lower its price by as much as 90 percent to win the bulk-buying bid, said Kelvin Chen, a Bocom International analyst. That triggered concern that companies involved in the bulk purchase scheme would have to massively cut prices to win orders.
The competitive process to win bids would also push prices sharply down, eroding companies’ profits. Now that reports are emerging that the price cuts are even deeper than expected, domestic pharmaceutical investors are in a panic, said UOB Kay Hian analyst Steven Leung.
“Investors are reacting not just to this round of news, but to the possibility that this is the direction that the government is going -- more cities will join the scheme and even more drugs will come under tender,” he said. The Chinese government had said that this tender round, which involves 31 drugs, was a pilot project.
While domestic pharmaceuticals that rely on generics will bear the brunt of the price cuts, foreign drugmakers like Pfizer Inc. and Sanofi are also likely to see weaker demand for some of their medicines.
According to an analysis by Bocom International’s Chen, Atorvastatin -- the generic name for Pfizer’s cholesterol blockbuster Lipitor -- is currently provided by three pharmaceuticals to Chinese hospitals: Pfizer, Jialin Pharmaceutical Co. and Henan Topfond Pharmaceutical Co. After the tender process, only one provider will win the supply contract, likely at a drastically lower price.
CSPC, Sino Biopharmaceutical, Jiangsu Hengrui and Sanofi didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. The National Health Commission, which oversees the drug buying program, couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.
中国石油天然气集团公司( CSPC Pharmaceutical Group Ltd .)周四在香港收盘时大跌14%，创下2008年以来的最大跌幅。中国生物制药有限公司股价下跌近16%。摩根士丹利资本国际中国医疗保健指数下跌8.4%，为2009年以来最大跌幅。
《上海证券报》( Shanghai Securities News )援引初步招标结果报道称，中国11个主要城市的政府采购清单中包含的药品价格大幅下调。报告显示，一种乙肝药物的价格下降了90%，另一种由江苏恒瑞医药有限公司生产的药品价格下降了60%。
自上月宣布集中采购计划以来，国内外医药企业一直反对。尽管政府希望包括北京和上海在内的参与城市共同采购，以控制成本，但法国赛诺菲( Sanofi )等制药商表示，该计划将导致药品供应过度依赖中标者，这可能导致质量和供应问题。
交银国际分析师 KelvinChen 表示，市场猜测一家公司为了赢得大宗购买交易，不得不将价格下调90%。这引发了人们的担忧，即参与大宗采购计划的企业将不得不大幅降价以赢得订单。
赢得竞标的竞争过程也将大幅压低价格，侵蚀企业的利润。大华继显( UOB Kay Hian )分析师梁振英( Steven Leung )表示，现在有报道称，降价幅度比预期更大，国内医药投资者感到恐慌。
尽管依赖仿制药的国内药品将首当其冲地降价，但辉瑞( Pfizer Inc .)和赛诺菲( Sanofi )等外国制药商也可能看到对部分药品的需求减弱。
CSPC 、 Sino Biopharma 、江苏恒瑞和赛诺菲没有立即回应置评请求。负责监督药品购买计划的国家健康委员会（ NationalHealthCommission ）不能立即联系上发表评论。