Construction of a research hospital, covering more than 70,000 square meters, will soon get started in the Boao Lecheng International Medical Tourism Pilot Zone by the end of the year as an effort to boost the pilot zone in South China's Hainan province, a senior official said on Tuesday.
The remarks came one day after the introduction of an implementation plan to support the development of the Boao Lecheng International Medical Tourism Pilot Zone which was released by four government departments, including the National Development and Reform Commission and the National Health Commission.
The implementation plan was an upgraded version of a guideline issued by the State Council in 2013 when it approved the establishment of the zone.
This included a series of key policies such as allowing medical institutions in the zone to import and use badly needed drugs and medical equipment from overseas that are not yet approved by the top drug authority in China, Hainan Governor Shen Xiaoming said at a news briefing organized by the State Council Information Office on Monday in Beijing.
Gu Gang, head of the administrative bureau of the pilot zone, said in the policy promotion conference on Tuesday that in the next stage, Boao Lecheng will take the lead in implementing the pilot free trade zone's policies, build a medical big data platform, offer the best auxiliary facilities for enterprises, and provide one-stop services for approving and registering projects in the pilot zone.
Gu said the research hospital would collect real world evidence - clinical data from patients who had actually used the imported drugs and medical equipment introduced in the pilot zone. The collected RWE can be used for the registration process of imported drugs - already approved by its country of origin - in China.
Yin Qiman, vice-president of Regulatory Affairs at Johnson& Johnson Medical China Ltd, said collecting RWE in the Boao Lecheng pilot zone is vitally important for both patients and pharmaceutical enterprises.
"Chinese patients are able to get access to the most advanced treatment simultaneously with patients from overseas. For enterprises, RWE can cut both the time and cost for clinical trials to a great extent, and accelerate the registration process of imported drugs and medical instruments," Yin said.
She noted that for regulating institutions, the introduction of RWE expands the range and level of their supervision.
Gu said that after six years of development, there are now 16 projects under construction in the pilot zone, and nine medical institutions are in the test phase or already operating there.
The industrial outfits in the pilot zone cover fields such as cancer prevention, reproductive preparation, plastic surgery, anti-aging, stem cell research, health management and rehabilitation.
"We welcome all excellent projects to the pilot zone, and we are looking forward to seeing all kinds of advanced technologies and scientific innovations land here," said Han Yingwei, director of Hainan provincial health commission.
The administrative bureau of the pilot zone said the round of investment promotion is open to international hospitals, international health management institutions, third-party testing institutions, medical colleges, national key laboratories, pension insurance companies, and medical tourism institutions among others.