FASTER CHINA NODS FOR NEW MEDICINES
Move opens floodgates for innovative therapies to enter country
BEIJING as the government attempts to drive down drug prices in its public health insurance system, which provides basic coverage for more than 95 per cent of its 1.4 billion people.
“Most multinational firms are optimistic about getting approval for their drugs, but funding is still an issue,” said John Wong, chairman of Greater China at Boston Consulting Group.
Foreign drugmakers have historically had to wait several years to bring treatments already approved in other countries into China. In recent years, many Chinese patients have travelled abroad to buy cancer therapies, and some even purchase raw ingredients online when therapies aren’t available at home.
The number of reviewers at China’s Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) who scrutinise drug applications rose to 600 at the end of last year from 120 in 2015, and the volume of backlogged applications was cut by two-thirds, said Bi Jingquan, minister of the CFDA, last month.
AstraZeneca’s Tagrisso, was among the first to benefit from the reforms. Bloomberg