China speeds up price reduction on cancer drugs

BEIJING, July 1 (Xinhua) -- In a bid to reduce the price of cancer drugs, China has included 15 more clinically effective yet expensive cancer medicines into its list of medical insurance reimbursement, according to China's state medical insurance administration.

The list currently covers a majority of the most frequently used and clinically effective cancer drugs, the administration said.

China has exempted all cancer drugs from import tariffs since May 1, as a move to further open the market to boost their accessibility.

However, since drug inventory imported before May 1 has not been affected by the new tariff policy, prices of imported cancer drugs have not experienced a substantial decline in the short term.

The administration said it will cut the price of cancer drugs on the list via public bidding and procurement.

Medical insurance institutions will negotiate with pharmaceutical enterprises to add cancer drugs into the system that are currently not on the list.

Since 2016, the government has reached agreements with pharmaceutical companies on the prices of 39 drugs -- including 17 cancer medicines -- on the medical insurance list, with drug prices marked down by over 50 percent on average.