Re­duced prices of 36 phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal drugs ben­e­fit mak­ers and pa­tients

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - ON TUES­DAY,

the Min­istry of Hu­man Re­sources and So­cial Se­cu­rity an­nounced that af­ter its ne­go­ti­a­tions with the man­u­fac­tur­ers of 44 phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal drugs, the prices of 36 of them had been cut and put into the list cov­ered by the med­i­cal in­sur­ance fund. Xkb.com.cn com­ments:

The 36 drugs share two points in com­mon: First, they were so ex­pen­sive that or­di­nary pa­tients could hardly af­ford them; se­cond, they are nec­es­sary for cer­tain ill­nesses and there is no sub­sti­tute for them. For ex­am­ple, half of the 36 drugs are used to treat six types of can­cer, in­clud­ing breast, lung and liver can­cer.

There have long been calls for these ex­pen­sive drugs to be cov­ered by the na­tional med­i­cal in­sur­ance fund. How­ever, their pre­vi­ously high prices made it im­pos­si­ble for the fund to cover them.

The only pos­si­ble so­lu­tion was for the gov­ern­ment to ne­go­ti­ate with the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal man­u­fac­tur­ers and per­suade them to lower their prices so the med­i­cal in­sur­ance fund could af­ford to cover them. That’s what the Min­istry of Hu­man Re­sources and So­cial Se­cu­rity has done.

It should be noted that the gov­ern­ment has a unique ad­van­tage in the ne­go­ti­a­tions — a huge po­ten­tial mar-

ket. When a drug is cov­ered by the med­i­cal in­sur­ance fund, its sales will doubtlessly rise be­cause more pa­tients will be able to af­ford it. That’s a ma­jor rea­son why the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal man­u­fac­tur­ers agreed to cut their prices.

There­fore, ev­ery­one ben­e­fits from the suc­cess of the ne­go­ti­a­tions. Pa­tients ben­e­fit be­cause they can get the medicine they need at lower prices, and the med­i­cal in­sur­ance fund re­im­burses much of the cost.

The phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal en­ter­prises ben­e­fit, too, be­cause the sales of their prod­ucts will be pro­moted and their mar­ket will ex­pand. Even with lower prices, they will make more profit.

The med­i­cal in­sur­ance fund ben­e­fits, too, be­cause it both saves money, and it can help more peo­ple in need. The suc­cess­ful ne­go­ti­a­tions are a good out­come of the on­go­ing med­i­cal re­form and we hope there are more suc­cesses to come.

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