China should include anti-cancer drugs in medial insurance: insider

By Xie Jun Source:Global Times Published: 2018/7/11 20:13:40

Insurance should cover cancer drugs: insider

The Chinese government is launching talks with overseas pharmaceutical firms on drug price adjustments, according to media reports. A medical industrial insider said that inelastic drugs, like anti-cancer drugs, should be included in medical insurance to solve the problem of high drug prices.

A number of multinational pharmaceutical companies have received invitations from Chinese government officials this week to discuss their drug prices, Financial Times reported on Monday.

The report cited a senior management executive at a European drug producer as saying that the negotiations would be tense.

The problem of sky-high drug prices, particularly for cancer drugs, has come into the spotlight after a recent movie blockbuster in China revealed that many domestic cancer patients can't afford cancer drug prices in China, and have had to purchase generic drugs from India.

Overseas drug manufacturers Pfizer and MSD couldn't be reached for comment, while GSK said that its main business is not related to anti-cancer drugs. Li Tianquan, co-founder of domestic healthcare big data platform, told the Global Times on Wednesday that a win-win solution would be for the government to include high-price inelastic demand drugs (like anti-cancer drugs) into medical insurance, while excluding drugs that are optional or not lifesaving in nature.

"If anti-cancer drugs are included in medical insurance, then drug firms should agree to lower their prices because demand will rocket up," Li said, adding that the domestic medical insurance list has not been amended in years, hindering the popularization of many important drugs.

Neil Wang, president of consultancy Frost & Sullivan China, told the Global Times on Wednesday that pharmaceutical firms, whether at home or abroad, face a research and development cycle of more than 10 years on average and a high failure rate in clinical tests.

"Even when the drug is successfully developed, input in market promotion and government affairs has also limited anti-cancer drugs' price reduction space. In a word, anti-cancer drugs' profitability is based on a high-risk, high cost and long-term investment cycle," Wang said.
Newspaper headline: Insurance should cover cancer drugs: insider


blog comments powered by Disqus