The General Office of the State Council recently issued the guidelines on the readjustment and normalization of China's medicine market.
The guidelines, jointly worked out by the Economic Restructuring Office of the State Council, the Ministry of Health, the State Drug Administration and other related departments, require crackdown on producing and selling fake and shoddy drugs.
The guidelines ask for elimination of the sources of fake medicine and severe punishment given to criminals who produce and sell fake medicine.
The illegal sales of medicine should be strictly prohibited in the country, according to the guidelines. Kickbacks and bribery involved in the purchase and selling of medicine will be investigated and handled according to law. Unlawful medicine markets must be banned, the guidelines emphasize.
According to the guidelines, drug administrations across the country must be disconnected from pharmaceutical factories, and should not have economic relations with any company that sells medicine.
The guidelines encourage the creation of a fair competitive environment in China and support superior medicine companies to enlarge their scale of operation through acquisition and merger.
The guidelines ask for shutdown of small medicine plants which cause serious environmental pollution, waste resources and are not qualified by related quality standards.
The guidelines stress regulating medicine selling enterprises, introducing public bidding into the medicine purchasing system, encouraging electronic trade of medicine and strengthening the construction of a medical service network in the rural areas.
Hospital dispensaries will be separated from medical facilities, and hospitals should be prevented from profiting from selling medicine, according to the guidelines.
Medicines will be divided into prescription and over-the- counter categories. Development of new high quality drugs are encouraged. The administration on medicine price will be strengthened, and medical advertisements will be put under strict supervision.
(People's Daily 03/26/2001)