Govt to lower prices of 14 drugs to treat cancer

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Pharmacists work at a hospital in Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. Prices of cancer treatment drugs in China are expected to be reduced. [Photo/Xinhua]

China's medical insurance administration said it will lower the prices of 14 cancer drugs and instructed provincial-level drug-procurement platforms to follow the new standard by the end of next month.

The National Healthcare Security Administration said on Saturday patients can expect to buy the drugs more cheaply after September.

The decision was based on a recent circular on the adjustment of medical insurance reimbursement and procurement prices of cancer drugs.

The administration will take steps to make sure the new prices are implemented, in order to allow the public to enjoy the benefits as soon as possible, a source from the administration said.

Negotiations have been underway between the administration and pharmaceutical companies to add more affordable cancer drugs to the country's medical insurance reimbursement list.

A range of drugs have been selected, with the administration confirming the producers' willingness to further negotiate. The drugs are all crucial in dealing with hematologic neoplasms and solid tumors, and have great clinical value and potentially huge benefits to patients, the administration said.

Negotiations launched last year have already lowered the prices of 15 clinically effective but expensive cancer drugs such as Herceptin, Rituximab, and Bortezomib, and added them to the medical insurance reimbursement list.

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