top of page

Regulations for Pharmaceutical Registration in Hong Kong

Updated: Dec 21, 2023

Pharmaceutical Registration in Hong Kong

The pharmaceutical market in Hong Kong has reached a significant size, estimated to be around $2.3 billion. This figure highlights the importance and demand for pharmaceutical products in the region. Additionally, the market has shown a promising growth rate, with a projected increase of 6.5% in the coming years. This suggests a positive outlook for the pharmaceutical industry in Hong Kong, indicating potential opportunities for both local and international pharmaceutical companies to thrive in this market. This article outlines the regulations for registration of pharmaceuticals in Hong Kong.

Health Authority and Legal Representation:

In Hong Kong, the Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) serves as the primary regulatory body overseeing pharmaceuticals. Operating under the Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance (Cap. 138), the PPB plays a crucial role in ensuring that pharmaceutical products meet the necessary standards and adhere to regulatory requirements. For companies seeking product registration, it is mandatory to have legal representation in Hong Kong, with local agents acting as intermediaries between the company and regulatory authorities.

Product Classification:

In Hong Kong, pharmaceutical products are divided into two main categories: Prescription-only Medicines (POM) and Over-the-Counter Medicines (OTC).

  • POM requires a prescription from a licensed healthcare professional and includes antibiotics, antipsychotics, and chronic disease medications.

  • OTC medicines, on the other hand, can be purchased without a prescription and include pain relievers, antacids, and cough syrup.

Labeling Requirements:

In Hong Kong, pharmaceutical product labelling plays a crucial role in providing clear and accurate information to consumers. It must include essential details such as the product name, active ingredients, dosage instructions, directions for use, storage conditions, and any necessary warnings or precautions. It is mandatory for the labelling to be available in both English and Chinese languages.

Clinical Trial Requirements:

In Hong Kong, conducting clinical trials involves obtaining approval from the Hong Kong Department of Health. Applicants are required to submit thorough trial protocols, safety data, and ethical considerations. Compliance with Good Clinical Practice (GCP) guidelines is necessary to prioritize the safety and well-being of participants.

Testing Requirements:

To ensure the quality, safety, and effectiveness of pharmaceutical products, they must undergo rigorous testing. This encompasses various requirements such as laboratory analysis, stability testing, and bioequivalence studies. These tests are vital in evaluating the overall performance and reliability of the products.

Foreign Testing Applicability:

In certain cases, Hong Kong acknowledges and accepts foreign testing data, particularly if the product has been approved by reputable regulatory agencies like the European Medicines Agency (EMA) or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, additional data specific to Hong Kong regulations may still be required to meet their specific requirements.

Pre-registration Requirements:

Prior to submitting a registration application in Hong Kong, companies must ensure that their pharmaceutical products adhere to the regulatory standards set by the country. This involves fulfilling pre-registration requirements, which may encompass tasks such as product testing, preparing necessary documentation, and providing evidence of manufacturing compliance.

Registration Process:

The registration process in Hong Kong necessitates the submission of a comprehensive application dossier to the Pharmacy and Poisons Board. This dossier should contain detailed information regarding the product's safety, efficacy, quality, and manufacturing process.

Recognition of EU/US Approvals:

Obtaining approval for a pharmaceutical product in the European Union or the United States can help streamline the registration process in Hong Kong. However, it should be noted that this does not guarantee automatic acceptance, as companies are still required to comply with specific local requirements.

Import and Distribution Requirements:

In Hong Kong, importers and distributors of pharmaceutical products are required to possess a Wholesale Dealer's License granted by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board. They must adhere to strict guidelines for importing and distributing products, ensuring the safety and traceability of each item.

List of Documents Required:

The documents required for pharmaceutical registration in Hong Kong can vary based on the product's classification and nature. The essential documents include:

  • Completed application form

  • Product information (composition, dosage forms, etc.)

  • Manufacturing details and Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certificate

  • Stability data

  • Clinical trial data (if applicable)

  • Product labelling and package inserts

  • Samples for testing (if requested by the authority)

GMP Inspection Requirements:

As an essential step in the registration process, manufacturing facilities undergo Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) inspections. These inspections are conducted to ensure that the facilities meet stringent quality standards and comply with regulations. By undergoing GMP inspections, manufacturers demonstrate their commitment to producing safe and high-quality pharmaceutical products.

Timeline and Associated Fees:

During the registration process, the pharmaceutical registration committee and the Pharmacy and Poison Board conduct evaluations. This stage typically lasts around five months from the application submission date. Additionally, the subsequent steps of law drafting, legislation approval, and gazette can take up to eight months. In Hong Kong, the terms "pharmaceutical product" and "medicine" encompass any substance. To obtain the Certificate, manufacturers must pay a registration fee of $1,370 per product.

Post-marketing Activities:

In Hong Kong, post-marketing activities play a crucial role in ensuring drug safety and compliance with regulations. These activities encompass pharmacovigilance, where adverse drug reactions are monitored and reported. Additionally, variations to product information may be made as necessary. Renewals are conducted to maintain regulatory approval, and audits are performed to ensure ongoing compliance with regulations. These comprehensive post-marketing activities work in tandem to safeguard public health and maintain the quality and safety of pharmaceutical products in Hong Kong.


Successfully navigating pharmaceutical regulations in Hong Kong necessitates careful planning, adherence to requirements, and a thorough understanding of the regulatory process. By complying with Health Authority guidelines and preparing a comprehensive registration dossier, pharmaceutical companies can effectively bring their products to the market, ensuring the provision of safe and effective medicines for the population.


bottom of page