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Drug Bulk-buying Outlook

NewsChina, Chinese Edition September 20, 2021

By NewsChina Updated Dec.1

China launched a national program to bulk buy drugs in late 2018, which required drug manufacturers to substantially reduce their prices if they wanted to be included in government-led procurement. From hypotensive drugs and diabetes pills to new cancer medicines, and equipment like heart stents and artificial joints, more than 200 types of drugs and medical materials saw their prices fall. By the end of 2020, there had been three procurement rounds, and drugs under the program saw an average price cut of 54 percent. At least 53 bil- lion yuan (US$8.2b) was saved, benefiting several hundred million patients each year. Time will see whether the bulk-buying will be a boon for the government, hospitals, doctors and patients alike. Chinese pharmaceutical enterprises have to become innovative, im- prove sales strategies, optimize product portfolios and operations and care more for non-hospital drug buyers in order to enhance their competitiveness as centralized drug purchasing is expected to cover more drugs in the future.