Manufacturing of bemis, a botanical compound that is widely used in the cosmetics industry, has soared in China.
But the world’s second-largest economy still lags behind the US and its biggest trading partner, South Korea, when it comes to manufacturing the drug, according to the World Health Organization.
In a survey published by the WHO last year, the country was ranked the world second-worst in terms of bessie production.
Its manufacturing capacity is far smaller than that of the US, and it does not have the infrastructure to produce its own generic drugs.
The WHO report cited a lack of “quality control, quality monitoring and testing, safety measures and quality assurance.”
Chinese authorities have also said they are investing heavily in research and development in bemis.
It is not clear if Chinese companies have been investing in bessies in the country’s far-flung regions.
Bemis is made by using a mixture of beryllium dioxide (BDE) and iron oxide, which is the material of choice for the manufacture of the drug.
It is made with the aid of two chemical processes, in which beryl groups are broken down and dissolved in water to form the compound, and in which iron oxide is combined with berylene to form a polymer.
“This is one of the most advanced pharmaceutical production processes that we know of,” Dr Michael Pachter, a professor at the University of Washington and an expert on bemis manufacturing, told Al Jazeera.
The WHO said China had the capacity to produce up to 2 million tablets a day.
But China’s bemis factories are far from efficient and expensive, which has made it hard for foreign firms to get their hands on the drug’s raw materials.
The report also said that while the country has developed a range of biofuels to supplement its bemis production, these have yet to catch on in the domestic market.
While China has a lot of potential in this area, it will take more time for them to find a way to produce the drug domestically, said Dr Pachters co-author Peter Wessels, an associate professor at Purdue University.