Importing pharmaceuticals from China

China is the “world’s factory,” so it comes as no surprise that it is the largest producer of pharmaceutical ingredients on the globe. Who has not heard of Sinopharm, China’s most valuable pharmaceutical brand?

Pharmaceuticals from China

Where are pharmaceuticals produced in China?

Tablets are not the only pharmaceutical products you can source from China. There are raw pharmaceutical materials, medical additives, solutions, injections, etc.

The most developed part of China is along the East coast. You can find many pharmaceutical Chinese manufacturers in:

Manufacturers of pharmaceuticals from china

What is the duty of pharmaceuticals?

If you import, you will be charged customs duties fees at the port of entry. The easiest way to find duties on products placed on the EU market is using the TARIC tariff system. Customs rates differ depending on the product category (HS Codes) and the country of origin.

  • Medicaments containing penicillins/streptomycins or derivatives thereof – 0% – 3004100000
  • Antibiotics: penicillins and their derivatives with a penicillanic acid structure; salts thereof – 0% – 2941100000
  • Medicaments containing antibiotics – 0% – 3003200000
  • Antibiotics: tetracyclines and their derivatives; salts thereof – 0% – 2941300000
  • Medicaments containing insulin – 0% – 3003310000
  • Antibiotics: erythromycin and their derivatives; salts thereof – 0% – 2941500000
  • Medicaments containing norephedrine or its salts – 0% – 3003430000.

Importing pharmaceuticals from China to the EU – requirements

The European pharmaceutical industry is strictly regulated, and importers should be aware of that. Medicines that are intended for the EU market have to be compliant with EU regulations. Pharmaceuticals in the EU are subject to the following:

  • Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/161 supplementing Directive 2001/83/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council by laying down detailed rules for the safety features appearing on the packaging of medicinal products for human use.
  • Directive 2002/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to food supplements (vitamins, minerals, labeling requirements).
  • All packages of prescription medicines must feature a UI, a unique identifier, and an anti-tamper device (ATD) for identification and authentication.
  • Place PC, SN, LOT, and EXP on medicinal product packs. Coding must be featured on prescription products sold in Europe.
  • Package leaflets must be included in the packaging of all medicinal products unless all information has to be featured on the labeling.

Importing pharmaceuticals from China – trade fairs

International trade shows in China are very popular as they create a perfect opportunity to research market trends and find a reliable supplier. If you want to source pharmaceuticals from China, check out the following exhibitions:

Guangzhou International Health Care Industry Exposition

Venue: Guangzhou – Canton Fair Complex, Guangzhou


Guangzhou is China’s regional medical and medicine circulation center. The scope of Guangzhou International Health Care Industry Exposition:

  • healthy food
  • sleep health products
  • traditional Chinese medicine health products
  • eyecare products
  • health assessment
  • hydrogen health products
  • packaging for the pharma industry.

Hong Kong International Medical and Healthcare Fair

Venue: Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, Hong Kong


The Medical and Healthcare Fair is held concurrently with the HKTDC Hong Kong Electronics Fair, electronicAsia, HKTDC International ICT Expo, HKTDC Hong Kong International Lighting Fair, HKTDC Hong Kong International Outdoor and Tech Light Expo, and Eco Expo Asia. Biotechnology is one of the fair spotlights.

API China Qingdao

Venue: Qingdao International Convention Center, Qingdao


API China is China’s leading trade fair for the pharmaceutical manufacturing sector. The exhibition covers the complete spectrum of products, from raw materials, fine chemicals, ingredients, and processing machinery to packaging machinery.

CIHIE Shibowei – Health Expo and Traditional Chinese Medicine Health Industry Exhibition

Venue: Beijing – Shougang Industry Heritage Park, Beijing


CIHIE showcases Traditional Chinese Medicine, which is an important part of the World Expo China International Health Industry Expo.


Venue: Shanghai – National Exhibition and Convention Center (NECC), Shanghai


Pharmchina is a professional exhibition for professionals in the pharmaceutical industry. It has over 40 years and is held twice a year. One of the biggest product categories is drugs and TCM.

Importing pharmaceuticals from China to the EU – to sum up

  • China is the world’s largest producer of pharmaceutical ingredients.
  • Many Chinese provinces along the east coast manufacture pharmaceuticals.
  • Duty rates in the EU on pharmaceutical materials are very low.
  • There is a regulatory framework for placing pharmaceuticals on the EU market.
  • Before you place your order, have your Chinese supplier verified.