Bet you can. But the wait is likely to be uncomfortably short. Already a major provider of active pharmaceutical ingredients, Chinese drugmakers are expected to become big players in selling generics, which has a few people on edge.
"We should be concerned, because the U.S. safety nets are frayed, and China has become a poster child for problems," Roger Williams, ceo at of US Pharmacopeia, the official standards-setting authority for all prescription and over-the-counter meds, tells The Star-Ledger of New Jersey.
He notes that Chinese drugmakers are capable of meeting good manufacturing standards, and the government there is in the process of instituting better controls. Still, he tells the paper, the FDA will have to be very careful before giving the okay to any Chinese-made generics.
Graham Lewis, a vp at IMS Health, tells the paper that, "so long as the Chinese can guarantee quality and consistency of supply, they have the skill base and commercial drive to try to build a dominant position in the US generic market. I would not underestimate their capacity in becoming a major player in the generic field."
Of course, this could be good for consumers, assuming safety isn't an issue. The introduction of Chinese-made generics would further drive down already-falling prices, pressuring profit margins for rivals in the US, Europe, India, Israel and elsewhere. Edward Thwaite, an industry consultant, tells the paper "price competition will be severe because of low labor costs...but it will take some time."