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Market size of diabetes medication sector in China 2018-2030

In 2018, the market size of the diabetes medication sector in China was estimated to be about 52 billion yuan and was set to double in size by 2030. The market growth would be driven by the rise in diabetes cases, the increasing consumer health spending, as well as the positive changes in healthcare policies and programs such as Healthy China 2030.

China’s diabetes drug landscape

Currently, the antidiabetic drug industry in China is dominated by oral hypoglycemic medications (for type 2 diabetes). Acarbose has become the most popular oral antidiabetic drug, owing its effectiveness to the reduction of glucose uptake, which is particularly suitable for the high-carbohydrate Chinese diet. Another diabetes medication type is human insulin and its analogues – mainly used among all type 1 diabetes cases and some people with type 2 diabetes or gestational diabetes. Short-acting insulin aspart and long-acting glargine controlled the major Chinese market for human insulin and insulin analogues in 2018. Medical experts forecasted that glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RAs) - a more convenient non-insulin option with other health benefits – would see a drastic sales growth in China.

The front runners: Novo Nordisk and Bayer

Global top diabetes drug manufacturers, like Novo Nordisk, Eli Lilly, Sanofi, and Bayer, had tapped into the massive Chinese market. When it comes to the brand popularity, the German pharmaceutical firm Bayer has been well-known with its Glucobay® - an acarbose product – winning the bestselling spot in China for the past few years. However, its rival Novo Nordisk has grabbed a significant portion of the insulin and GLP-1 market. The world leader in diabetes care earned over 12.5 billion Danish kroner (about 1.88 billion U.S. dollars) from its business in Greater China. Global heavyweights would retain their dominance in the Chinese diabetes medication sector. It would take some years for domestic players like Huangdong Medicine and Gan & Lee Pharmaceutical to gain some tractions in the market.

Estimated market size of the diabetes medication sector in China in 2018 and 2030

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Release date

October 2019



Survey time period


Supplementary notes

Note: 1 yuan equals approximately 0.14 U.S. dollars and 0.13 euros (as of June 2020).

The estimation for 2018 was based on the sales figures of diabetes medications from sampling hospitals.

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Statistics on "Diabetes in China"

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