Pro­cure­ment of medicines re­quires more trans­parency

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - THE NA­TIONAL HEALTH AND FAM­ILY PLAN­NING COM­MIS­SION

has urged its lo­cal branches in Shang­hai and Cen­tral China’s Hu­nan prov­ince to hold ac­count­able all par­ties in­volved in a re­cent scan­dal, in which doc­tors re­ceived kick­backs for pre­scrib­ing drugs. Beijing News com­mented on Sun­day:

It is not news that some doc­tors feast on pre­scrip­tion kick­backs. But what is in­cred­i­ble in this case is some of drugs, which are sup­posed to be af­ford­able to most res­i­dents, cost pa­tients more than they would pay for the drugs in a pri­vate hospi­tal.

That nearly half the money pa­tients paid for the drugs were kick­backs for some doc­tors is not only a stain on med­i­cal ethics and the na­tion­wide fight against cor­rup­tion, but also a set­back for the coun­try’s ef­forts to keep hos­pi­tals away from il­le­gal price-fix­ing. Harsher re­stric­tions are called for to keep both the med­i­ca­tion pro­cure­ment and bid-

ding in check.

There­fore, the bid­ding process for medicines should be made trans­par­ent for pub­lic scru­tiny and a set of mar­ket-based prices in­tro­duced for ref­er­ence.

Which drugs are pro­cured and at what cost should be dis­closed in a timely fash­ion for needed su­per­vi­sion. Those who re­port over­priced drugs or il­le­gal price-fix­ing that prove true, should re­ceive proper re­wards.

An im­proved ac­count­abil­ity mech­a­nism is es­sen­tial as part of ef­forts to reg­u­late the pro­cure­ment of medicines.

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