China's Minister of Health Gao Qiang Thursday called on medical institutions across the country to place public health interests above the pursuit of profit-making.
Gao made the remarks at an ongoing two-day forum on building a well-off society.
The development of the public health sector, due to social mechanism problems, lags behind that of China's economic growth, the minister said.
An online survey a month ago showed that 71.28 percent of the 15,690 respondents said they supported the reform of the nation's medical system, indicating the issue was a top public concern.
Chinese urban and rural residents often complain about the soaring costs to see doctors and the skyrocketing medicines, which prompted the State Development and Reform Commission to launch a campaign on Oct. 10 requiring medical institutions and hospitals to lower the prices of 22 categories of medicines by 40 percent.
The minister said China needs to further reform its public health-care medical system in urban areas, including the reforms on management and operation of hospitals as well as medical service network.
Medical institutions are encouraged to attract social funds to help develop public health care cause, he said, calling on hospitals to control the overall level of the salaries of medical staff and charge patients less.
(Xinhua News Agency December 9, 2005)