China's Health Ministry plans to tighten control over the varieties of the same drug hospitals can offer to patients, who are often tricked into buying more expensive medications.
The new regulation, which will take effect on May 1, allows hospitals to offer patients the same type of drug from only two pharmaceutical companies.
Drugs producers have been accused of changing the name of their drugs and re-pricing them to escape price controls set by China's National Development and Reform Commission.
The new regulation also urges doctors to provide the most "economical" prescriptions, as they have been seen to prescribe more expensive drugs for which they receive kickbacks.
The regulation also forbids the distribution of prescription drugs by anyone other than a doctor.
(Xinhua News Agency March 13, 2007)