BEIJING -- Starting from May, diabetes patients in China will enjoy an average 48 percent drop in their medicine costs.
The price cut will be effective on about 40 commonly used insulin products selected by the country's centralized drug procurement program in November.
The bulk-buying mechanism has so far benefited patients with hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, chronic hepatitis B, and other chronic or common diseases, with an average drug price cut of 53 percent.
It had saved an estimated 260 billion yuan (about 40.84 billion U.S. dollars) in medicine costs by the end of last year, and encouraged pharmaceutical enterprises to focus more on research and development, according to official data.
"Group-buying" will be institutionalized in the next few years and become the main purchasing channel for drugs and medical consumables, said the National Healthcare Security Administration.
More high-value medical consumables will also be included in the program, it added.