Sunday, 26 January 2014

NHFPC issues directive on pharmaceutical price caps and production of essential medicines

translated by Michael Woodhead
The National Health and Family Planning Commission in conjunction with nine other departments has issued a notice entitled: "Correcting unhealthy tendencies in pharmaceutical purchasing and sales and medical services - a special governance work implementation paper."
The notice calls for strict standardisation of medicine purchasing and sales arrangements in order to  reduce the sector's high prices for drugs in the medical compendium.

The NHFPC statement calls for health institutions and agencies to improve and perfect centralised buying systems for pharmaceuticals and high-value medical consumables. Departments should research the best ways to improve pharmaceutical product quality and find appropriate appraisal measures for medicine standards. The notice also requires department to adopt effective measures to supervise and regulate medical treatments and to explore single source purchasing arrangements and tender arrangements. It also suggests that governments adopt pharmacoeconomic evaluation of medical treatments. Steps should be taken to develop a "national central drug purchasing tender price database inquiry system" function. While guaranteeing pharmaceutical quality, practical measures should be taken to reduce artificially high drug prices in tenders, it says.
Published in the Peoples Daily, the NHFPC notice also calls on departments to strengthen supervision of medicine prices,  medical product costs, to monitor production costs and achieve reasonable adjustment in retail prices for medical products. It says measures should be taken to ensure production of low volume but clinically essential medicines at fixed prices while ensuring reasonable profit margins for manufacturers, to encourage the enthusiasm of production enterprises for manufacturing these products.

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