Domestic and multinational drugmakers in China have strongly criticized government plans for a wider roll-out of a piloted competitive tendering system for medicines procurement which has been shown to cut the prices of essential drugs by at least 30%. The plans were announced at the annual National People’s Congress in Beijing, where national leaders said the tendering system would be rolled-out further to support an increase in state health insurance coverage and moves to make health care more affordable.
According to PharmaGossip, although the tendering strategy was piloted in five Chinese provinces, it is generally referred to as the “Anhui model.” This is because in Anhui, the country’s fourth-poorest province, it has been shown to reduce prices of essential drugs by an average of 53% below their officially-set maximum retail prices, with some price levels being slashed as much as 90%. Currently, the tendering system covers 307 essential drugs but Ministers want to increase this to around 800 products, and also to cover the procurement of more expensive drugs used in hospitals in the treatment of diseases such as cancer. Research-based drugmakers say that doing so would force them to compete on price with generics makers, but supporters of the proposal point out that most such drugs are expensive imports.[related_posts limit=”5″]