China is the world’s third-largest pharmaceutical market and it will become the second-largest by 2020, second only to the United States.

As a start, Spigarelli and Filippetti put the question in its right economic context. China is less and less to be considered a developing country, and it is gaining a permanent role in the world. Its domestic market and exigencies are now deeply international and modernized, that makes it like a Western nation. As a consequence, China is considered, by Western countries, as a major opportunity for their medical products, and Western pharmaceutical companies are increasingly willing to invest in the Chinese market. Furthermore, as it is stressed by the Authors, it is possible to do so maintaining a high standard of quality and technology in this field, due to the modern level of infrastructure and medical facilities. The increase in foreign patents in the pharmaceutical industry suggests the presence of an interesting scientific and technological environment for foreign companies. What it is worth noting here is also that - on the side of the Chinese government - there is a growing social and political awareness about the themes of health-care services and pharmaceutical products – as it is remembered, by 2020 China has planned to build a safe and affordable health services both to urban and rural residents (as explicitly stated by the Guidelines on Deepening the Reform of Health-care System). As a consequence of this state of affairs, the Chinese pharmaceuticals market grew by 17 percent in 2010 (25.7 billion of dollars) and it accounts for 18.6 percent of the Asia-Pacific entire pharmaceuticals market. The financial crisis that has affected the economy globally has not compromised the pace of growth: currently, China is the world’s third-largest pharmaceutical market, and, according to forecast, it will become the second-largest by 2020, second only to the United States.