China plans to add more drugs to price-slashing bulk-buy programme

22-Nov-2019 Intellasia | Reuters | 6:02 AM Print This Post

China will add more drugs to its bulk-buy programme in an effort to curb high medicine prices, the country’s cabinet said, in a move that could increase downwards price pressure on multinational pharmaceuticals’ off-patent established products.

Medicines where generic versions are significantly cheaper than branded drugs will be prioritised for inclusion in a centralised procurement programme, a State Council meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang said on Wednesday.

Drugs on the list so far include off-patent cancer treatment drug Pemetrexed, sold by Eli Lilly under the brand name Alimta, and leukemia therapy Imatinib, which is sold by Novartis as Gleevec. Local companies produce generic versions of both drugs.

Beijing introduced the bulk-buy programme last year, allowing some cities to band together to negotiate lower prices for medicines for use at public hospitals.

The move caused the price of some medicines to plunge more than 90%, state news agency Xinhua said.

In September, the government expanded the programme to cover the entire country.


Category: China

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