Profits vs. patients

By Xiang Bin
0 CommentsPrint E-mail, May 19, 2010
Adjust font size:

The high cost and high-profit level of medicine is causing concern and raising the issue of whether high-profit medicine runs counter to the best interests of patients.


There is no highest, only higher!  [By Jiao Haiyang/]

Who is lying?

On May 16, "Weekly Quality Report,"a CCTV news program, featured a story about Ms. Han, who was diagnosed with cancer six months ago and received treatment at Xiangya No. 2 Hospital. The doctor recommended asparagus tablets as supplementary therapy. The hospital sells them for 213 yuan ($31.3) a bottle. Han required three bottles a month, which meant a cost of more than 600 yuan – not an insignificant expense for Han and her family.

Han's daughter suspected the price was too high, so she asked a friend in the drug industry about asparagus tablets. The friend said he could buy the medicine at 30 yuan ($4.4) a bottle.

"I was very angry. Why does the same medicine cost 213 yuan at the hospital? We can't accept this,"Han's daughter said.

Xiangya No. 2 Hospital, at Changsha, is the largest grade III class A hospital in Hunan Province. Zhou Hong, chief pharmacist of the hospital, said the purchase of all the medicine was centralized.

"It's the government who sets the price, not us,"Zhou said. "The drug prices in our hospital have been approved by price department.”

According to Zhou, the hospital bid for asparagus tablets at the price of 185.22 yuan ($27.24) a bottle.

"Hospitals have the right to add a maximum of 15 percent profit to the market price, so the medicine is sold at 213 yuan."

However, an investigation showed the actual market price of asparagus tablets is 136 yuan ($20) – not 185.22 yuan ($27.24). The hospital actually added 56 percent profit to the market price, which violates the law.

What's the factory price of medicine?

Xiangya No. 2 Hospital purchased all its drugs from Hunan Pharmaceuticals Company. The company sales manager, who oversees asparagus tablets, said the company sold the tablets to other pharmaceutical companies wholesale, from which hospitals then purchased the medicine.

The sales list of the company showed the wholesale price of asparagus tablets is between 30 yuan ($4.4) and 40 yuan ($5.9). Therefore, pharmaceuticals companies purchased asparagus tablets from Hunan Pharmaceuticals Company at about 40 yuan ($5.9) and sold it to hospitals at 136 yuan.

Then how much is the medicine when Hunan Pharmaceuticals Company purchased it from factory? The list shows the factory price of asparagus tablets is 15.5 yuan ($2.28) a bottle – from 15.5 yuan ($2.28) to 213 yuan ($31.3), a noteworthy profit.

1   2   Next  

Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comments

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from