Co-Op To Make Medicines In China

By Salamander Davoudi, FT

Monday, August 06, 2007

The Co-operative Group, Britain’s biggest mutual retailer, on Friday became the first UK business to manufacture its own prescription drugs in China as part of a joint venture with a leading pharmaceutical company.

The venture marks the first time that a British retailer has established its own drugs manufacturing business. Chemists, such as Boots, tend to buy their generic prescription drugs from wholesalers or directly from generics manufacturers.

About 25 per cent of generic prescription drugs in the UK come from India, the rest largely come from Turkey and elsewhere in the European Union. China is not a significant participant in the market.

Sants, one of the Co-operative’s subsidiaries, is to invest £20m towards the development of a manufacturing plant in Tianjin, as part of a joint venture agreement with Tasly Group, one of China’s largest herbal medicine manufacturers. Tasly owns 40 per cent of Sants.

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