Online platform helps slash prices of drugs

Updated: Oct 13, 2021 China Daily Print
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Prices of more than 680 drugs have been slashed by 31 percent on average thanks to an innovative mechanism introduced in South China's Hainan province, according to provincial healthcare security authorities.

"The provincial healthcare security bureau jointly introduced the new model and interim measures to supervise pricing for pharmaceutical bidding and purchase in Hainan with the provincial government affairs service center last September," said Luo Zhengqiu, an official from the provincial healthcare security bureau.

Luo said that the new procurement system is working effectively to guide pharmaceutical companies in reducing the prices to a reasonable level and has curbed the purchase of expensive drugs by medical institutions.

More importantly, it is helping reduce the burden of the high cost of medicine on people, he added.

The latest results displayed on the Hainan pharmaceutical procurement platform show that prices of all 689 drugs online have been cut, with a decrease of 31 percent on average and a maximum decrease of some medicines of 97 percent.

The unit price of some anti-cancer drugs has dropped sharply by more than 10,000 yuan ($1,548).

Regarded as innovative in China, the new monitoring mechanism helps assess the performance of pharmaceutical and medical companies in their pricing policies and imposes punishment jointly with other disciplinary departments on companies that have lost credibility.

The monitoring platform has accumulated a total of 3,204 discounts by pharmaceutical companies in the past year, representing potential savings of about 117 million yuan for medical service companies.

All 4,000-plus pharmaceutical companies online have promised to sell quality products at reasonable prices, while 614 medicines and 5,450 medical consumables have been withdrawn from the platform for being unfairly priced, according to data from the local authority.

"Hainan will continue to improve supervision of pharmaceutical bidding and procurement, optimize the business environment for medical services and further reduce the cost of medication for the benefit of local patients," Luo said.

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