I am not sure that most diabetic patients in China will be able to afford the likely price point, in country (or more precisely, that the Chinese government will be able/willing to reimburse at an acceptable price), for Januvia®, and there remains the concern about elevated risk of pancreatitis -- but this is still good news for Merck, on balance:
. . . .Januvia (sitagliptin), a new oral diabetes drug, has been approved by China's State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) for distribution in the Chinese market. . . .
China has about 41 million diabetics, mostly Type 2 - second only to India - struggling to get their blood sugar under control. More than 70 percent of China's diabetics fail to achieve normal blood glucose levels through existing oral medications.
Pan notes that many patients are unable to stick with their treatment of either oral medications or insulin therapy, in part because the drugs cause hypoglycemia, stomach problems and weight gain. . . .
We'll see if it moves global Januvia sales figures (translated back into US dollar volumes) much -- on the Q2 2010 conference call.