A Chinese dark comedy "Dying to Survive" based on the benefits of generic anti-cancer drugs manufactured in India, is ruling the box office in China. The flick has become a hit in China, grossing USD 36.14 mn in two days since its release on Thursday.
China, in recent times, has emerged as a lucrative market for Indian movies. In fact, Bollywood movies have had a golden run in China recently after films like Dangal, Hindi Medium and Secret Superstar were appreciated by the Chinese audience. Now, taking a leap forward in the Indo-Sino bonhomie via movies, a recently released Chinese flick “Dying to Survive” based on the benefits of generic anti-cancer drugs manufactured in India, is ruling the box office in China. According to The Indian Express, the black comedy has become hit in China, grossing USD 36.14 mn in two days since its release on Thursday.
The movie is based on the story of Lu Yong, a textile trader from Wuxi, Jiangsu province who was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia in 2002, and was taking Gleevec, developed by Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis. This cost him 23,500 yuan (around Rs 2.5 lakh) a month. Then, in 2004, Lu began to use a version of the same medicine, called Veenat, from India which cost him only 3,000 yuan. He then shared this information with 1,000 other patients and provided help in sourcing these medicines from India.
At the time when everyone’s talking about India and China’s blooming partnership in the pharma sector, this movie focuses on the use of generic drugs manufactured in India that are very popular in China for their low cost and efficacy. “Dying to Survive”, directed by Ning Hao, deals with the issue of rising healthcare costs in China. In China, nearly 40 per cent of healthcare spending is on drugs alone. And in this situation, Indian drugs are extremely popular in the neighbouring country with frequent cases being registered for smuggling and selling Indian-made drugs.
With around 4.3 million people in China diagnosed with cancer annually, there is a massive underground market for Indian medicines in the treatment of the disease. Despite the popularity of Indian drugs, the percentage of those sold legally in the Chinese market is very low. Hence, Chinese experts have been calling for joint development between India and China in the field of pharmaceuticals with some calling for the development of drugs.
In June this year when PM Narendra Modi visited China, it was agreed that China would encourage Indian pharmaceutical companies to register for high-quality pharma products in the Chinese market.