Thursday, 15 November 2012

Roche uses private insurance to promote use of its drugs by middle class Chinese

While other drugmakers cut prices, set up access plans or wrangle with the Chinese government to sell products in that country, Roche is taking a more indirect tack. As Bloomberg reports, the Swiss drugmaker has teamed up with the reinsurer Swiss Re to sell private insurance to middle-class Chinese. That way, more patients can afford to use the company's pricey cancer drugs.
"We're creating a market," Roche CEO Severin Scwan told the news service. He went on to say that the "old theory" that only the rich can afford coverage--and the expensive drugs it will buy--is wrong. "Now what you have is an emerging middle class. This emerging middle class is able to make a contribution."
Roche and Swiss Re works with 5 domestic insurers to sell the policies, which supplement public insurance, which doesn't cover expensive drugs such as Roche's Herceptin, Bloomberg says. So far about 6 million people have signed up, and the insurance plan is expected to end the year with 10 million. Next year? Twelve million, with the help of China Life Insurance, which Swiss Re expects to join up early next year.

Read more: FiercePharma

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