The high cost of medicines for chronic diseases has become a crucial issue in China, where the incidences of lymphoma, lung, and cervical cancers are all on the rise.A Chinese government commission is mandating price cuts on 95 drugs for cancer, immune and blood-related diseases as part of a broader effort to reform the nation’s healthcare system amid unrest.
The National Development and Reform Commission’s price adjustment program will trim pricing for 200 formulations of drugs by an average 17 percent, starting October 8 with the aim of making the medicines more affordable and accessible, especially in rural areas where patients often struggle to pay.
The high cost of medicines for chronic diseases has become a crucial issue in China, where the incidences of lymphoma, lung, and cervical cancers are all on the rise. The cost of care has in some cases spurred violence and social unrest.
Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine, Lansen Pharmaceutical Holdings, and Sihuan Pharmaceutical Holdings Group are some of the companies that may be affected, according to Bloomberg.
The price cuts are part of a government plan announced in August to increase the number of drugs on the country’s National Essential Drugs list to 700 from 307 by the end of the year. The list, created as part of China’s Healthy China 2020 program, specifies drugs deemed to be of critical importance to the health of the population and are procured by the government and subject to price controls.
While many of the drugs on China’s essential drugs list are low-cost generics, an increasing number of patented drugs are likely to be added to the list as global biopharmaceutical companies expand their sales in the country. Pharmaceutical sales in China grew from $10 billion in 2004 to $41 billion in 2010 and, according to IMS Health, are projected to grow to more than $100 billion by 2014.
September 20, 2012