AFT Pharmaceuticals shares rose 5.4% after the pharmaceutical maker signed a deal to sell over-the-counter medicine online in China. 

The shares were up 19 cents at $3.74 at 1pm on the NZX after the company said its joint venture with ASX-listed ecommerce firm RooLife on the Chinese online platform Tmall Global will start selling over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, including its flagship Maxigesic pain relief product. 

The Kiwi Health Global Flagship Store, was launched in 2020 with a trial range of AFT’s health supplements. 

AFT said it's achieved “strong support” and further medicine launches will come in the next few months.

The store now carries AFT’s portfolio of health and wellbeing products which include its vitamin range and allergy relief and will extend its over-the-counter medical product portfolio.

AFT managing director Hartley Atkinson said it was exciting to be the first NZ company to be approved for the pilot and the opportunity offered a “significant growth opportunity”.

“The Chinese market for over-the-counter medicines is the world’s second-largest behind the US and is growing rapidly,” he said.

“In 2020, it was worth US$16.3 billion (NZ$26.4b), and it is now expected to reach US$22.7b by 2023, as the Chinese population ages and becomes more focused on healthcare.”

Atkinson also said more than 58% of those sales occurred online.

AFT more than doubled its net profit in the March 2022 year and signalled it will start paying dividends in the current financial year, its first since listing in December 2015. 

This has been edited to remove a repeated word in the 2nd paragraph.