Zeneca breaks new ground in China: Intravenous anaesthetic wins marketing approval in new area

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ZENECA made its first significant product launch in China yesterday by marketing its Diprivan intravenous anaesthetic and sedative in the country, writes Gail Counsell.

Many drug companies think China will be the biggest growth market of the next decade. Diprivan is one of Zeneca's newest products, which will be the key to its success over the next few years.

Sales of the drug, which Zeneca says has revolutionised the use of intravenous anaesthesia since its launch in 1986, are running at more than pounds 170m and growing at around 40 per cent a year.

China brings to more than 80 the number of countries in which Diprivan is approved for use. The main outstanding application is in Japan, where marketing approval is expected early next year.

China offered exciting opportunities, said Michael O'Brien, Zeneca's territorial director. The launch of Diprivan would help to prepare the company's newly formed Chinese marketing operation for other products.

The US Food and Drug Administration has cleared the US production facilities of Medeva, the medium-sized British drug company. It said yesterday that MD Pharmaceutical, the company's US subsidiary, could again be considered as a supplier of drug products to agencies of the US government.

In June the FDA recommended that government agencies should not award MD any contracts.

(Photograph omitted)