Right price holds key to battle against cancer

Updated: Jul 23, 2018 China Daily Print
Share - WeChat

Of the 138 antineoplastic drugs available in China, 66 are imported, including 27 monopoly drugs, the commission said.

Last year, total spending on these drugs in China reached 130 billion yuan ($19 billion), it said.

The commission said it will work with some other departments to further improve affordability and accessibility to urgently needed cancer drugs.

Zhao, from the Cancer Foundation of China, said imported antineoplastic drugs, especially targeted drugs, are highly expensive due to the high cost of research and development.

"A new targeted drug usually requires more than 10 years of research, and investment of more than $1 billion," he said. "Chances of success in the research and development used to be below 10 percent, and are a little more than 20 percent now."

A pharmaceutical company has to recover all costs, including those incurred from failed trials, from a successfully developed drug and make profits before the patent period expires, which has resulted in very high prices for such drugs, he said.

Zhu Hengpeng, a researcher in health policy at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said another reason for high drug prices, including those for antineoplastic drugs, is that public hospitals tend to buy high-priced patent drugs to make higher profits, rather than cheaper generic drugs.

Zhi at Xuanwu Hospital said some antineoplastic drugs for lung cancer are so expensive that some poor patients cannot afford the treatment even after a discount of up to two-thirds offered by pharmaceutical companies.

"I think the government should formulate policies especially for cancer patients from impoverished regions to provide them with more financial support," he said.

The good news is that in recent years antineoplastic drugs have become more affordable to more patients, including those from rural areas, due to extended coverage of the government's basic medical insurance programs, he added.

"Almost all commonly used antineoplastic drugs for lung cancer in China have been included in the reimbursement list for the basic medical insurance programs since last year," he said.

With more government efforts expected to further reduce the prices of antineoplastic drugs for lung cancer-many of which are imported patent ones-cancer patients' financial burdens in general are expected to be further relieved, he said.

To reduce prices of such drugs and ease the burden on patients, authorities have taken a series of measures in recent years.

< 1 2 3 >

Copyright©2024 China Daily. All rights reserved.


京公网安备 11010502032503号 京公网安备 11010502032503号