(C) Merck Serono Co., Ltd. 2018 - Rogier JanssensMerck KGaA:
Digital Services in China with Alibaba Health

June 2018. The 350-anniversary celebration at Shanghai has been the platform to sign a strategic collaboration agreement of German Merck with Alibaba Health, Alibaba Group Holding’s companies to provide Chinese patients and their families with improved access to patient-centric healthcare services. At the signing ceremony in Shanghai, both companies announced the collaboration will focus on the areas of drug track and trace and internet health services, and to jointly explore areas such as pharmaceutical e-commerce and artificial intelligence. The ceremony was in the presence of Simon Sturge, Chief Operating Officer of Merck’s Healthcare business, Li Ma Senior Vice President of Alibaba Health Technology (Beijing) Co. Ltd. representing Leo Shen, CEO of Alibaba Health, Hong Kong, and Rogier Janssens, Managing Director and General Manager of China Biopharma since mid-2017.

(C) Merck Serono Co., Ltd. 2018 - Li MAThe collaboration will start with Alibaba Health’s drug tracking platform, combining Merck’s expertise indiabetes, thyroid disorders and cardiovascular diseases with Alibaba Health’s strengths in online healthcare to help ensure safety and security of drug use, while generating consistent value for patients through a series of add-on services. The two companies will also explore online healthcare service applications, Direct-to-Patient models as well as Artificial Intelligence enabled healthcare applications. As the healthcare flagship of Alibaba Group in implementing, Alibaba Health is implementing its “Double H” (Health and Happiness) strategy which aims to provide fair, affordable and accessible healthcare services, by leveraging on its specialized healthcare ecosystem and innovative technologies.

“Our mission is to transform the lives of 40 million patients in China by 2025 and digitalization will play a vital role in helping us to achieve that aim,” explained Rogier Janssens his company’s strategy in China. With Alibaba Health hopes are to “improve disease awareness and health management of patients in China via advanced internet approaches.”

In recent years, the Chinese government has carried out a series of comprehensive policy measures to push forward medical reform. As a high-priority national development strategy, the "Healthy China 2030" initiative is the first long-term strategic plan in the healthcare field to be established at the national level. The initiative revolves around the “Big Health” concept and aims to encourage Chinese society to actively invest in healthcare. To meet increasingly diversified healthcare needs, in April 2018 China’s State Council released a set of guidelines on “Internet Plus healthcare” encouraging a deeper integration of the internet and healthcare.


互联网+医疗 = Internet Plus healthcare
Comment B2Bioworld

It is well known that China is facing similar problems in healthcare as other nations do. Some of these are lack of qualified doctors, in particular in the country side, and increasing demand for Western brands, issues in quality of domestic products, counterfeited drugs, or rising costs for public healthcare. With President Xi Jinping’s re-election the Chinese government is returning on the policy framework of the Healthy China 2030 Plan. Today it is harnessing domestic e-commerce for public health and accelerates the pace.

OScreenshot Alibaba.com - Health-Medical, June 2018n April 3rd the State Council of China which is the countries Central Government Body already published a document announcing its intentions to “promote the research and availability of generic drugs, and improve their quality and efficacy to lower healthcare costs and to better meet public demand». In a first phase this will affect treatments of infectious diseases, paediatric conditions, and rare diseases. End of April the State Council published a guideline on «Internet Plus healthcare» (国务院办公厅关于 - 促进“互联网+医疗健康”发展的意见). The guideline summons all tiers of the national health system to implement cross-organisational internet-based services which should also use telemedicine and advanced processing of medical records. Another objective is to install patient care via «internet hospitals». The governmental guideline explicitly encourages the use of third party internet services. Though it is not named, Alibaba which is the national internet flagship, and its Alibaba Health arm are recommended to Chinese healthcare providers.

In the current phase of rapprochement between the partners Merck’s major interest is to benefit from Alibaba’s expertise in detecting counterfeited, high-margin products. In this area Alibaba is already and successfully partnering with manufacturers of Western luxury labels such as Dulux, Louis Vuitton or Swarovski. With regard to original pharmaceutical products Alibaba also runs an online pharmacy (“Alibaba Health”) where it developed its own verification and authentication technology. With the Alibaba partnership Merck also gets access to other Asian countries, in particular in Southeast Asia. Alibaba controls Lazada which operates in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. However the Alibaba partnership has more to offer for the German pharma company. Advertisement of drugs and medical devices is state-regulated and Alibaba has expertise in acquiring the relevant permissions from the Chinese authorities. eds.


Sources: PR Merck KGaA, Details Added by B2Bioworld 

Back to section

Related Editorial Articles

Google buys into European competitors’ ecosystem

Make or Break Drug Discovery and Biopharma of Merck Life ScienceAndrew Bulpin, EVP MilliporeSigma on strategy and the road ahead. Includes competitive ranking of Merck Life Science Division

Roche prepares itself for user innovation
Ursula B. Redeker, CEO of Roche Germany, CEO of Roche Germany about managing “big health data”, insourcing missing expertise, and linking up to the ecosystem

Steering Health Data For or By? The User as Stakeholder, Expert, Citizen, Consumer, and Patient
Tomas D. Szucs, Chairman of Helsana Group, one of the largest Swiss health insurance companies, on making “big data” work and crossing traditional boundaries of managing information assets

Clarifying the concept of personalised medicine: Stem Cells - a discovery tool and a potential therapeutic modality
Jonathan Knowles, past Member of the Roche Executive Committee and Head of Group Research

Merck: Getting closer to biosimilars markets in Asia and Latin America

Doing our business a little bit differently than the others in industry
Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, Executive Vice President and Chief Science Officer of Novo Nordisk on stem cell approaches to diabetes

Opening up Emerging Markets for Rapid Diagnostics and Point-of-Care Assays
David Dolinger shares experience and insight. Do’s and don’ts in developing viable tests for medical, agricultural, or food diagnostics, and bringing these to low resource countries

AstraZeneca / MedImmune Trigger Public Investments into Brazil's Translational Healthcare
A public-private partnership becomes a building block of São Paulo State’s industrial diversification strategy of State

Easier Access to Patent Claims Encoded in Chinese

Disclaimer: You agree that B2Bioworld is not responsible and will not be held liable for any third party content on its sites or any third-party content, products or services available on other web sites accessed through links from B2Bioworld sites. Links to third-party sites are for your convenience only. Their inclusion on B2Bioworld's sites does not imply any endorsement, guarantee, warranty or representation by B2Bioworld.