Premier Li demands anti-cancer drug prices drop

By Liu Xuanzun Source:Global Times Published: 2018/7/18 22:18:40

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has urged authorities to step up measures to reduce the price of anti-cancer drugs and assure a steady supply of such medicine, following heated discussions sparked by the Chinese black comedy Dying to Survive.

The measures for changes must be put into practice "as fast as possible," said the premier, according to an article released on the website of China's State Council on Wednesday.

Li's instructions came after heated discussions on China's costly anti-cancer drugs triggered by the film Dying to Survive, which hit Chinese mainland theaters on July 5.

Tian Guangqiang, an assistant research fellow at the  Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Wednesday that cancer requires costly long-term treatment which many families in China cannot afford.

Since April, China has called for hastened measures to lower tariffs and hasten the approval time for imported anti-cancer drugs. The government will also lower the price for cancer drugs via government procurement and include imported cancer drugs on its list of approved medical insurance reimbursement drugs.

"Government procurement can not only guarantee the quality of imported drugs, but also can create economies of scale," Tian said, adding that the low tariffs plus including anti-cancer drugs in the medical insurance reimbursement list will also help reduce prices.


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