China's first central procurement program targeting equipment related to orthopedic spinal procedures has led to an average price cut of 84 percent, according to draft results released on Tuesday evening.
The price reduction, set to take effect in February, is expected to save patients around 26 billion yuan ($3.6 billion) annually, the National Healthcare Security Administration said.
For instance, the price of medical equipment used for a procedure known as posterior fixation for the thoracolumbar spine, which makes up one-third of all spinal surgeries, will drop from 33,000 to 4,500 yuan per set on average.
The price of equipment used for cutting-edge minimally invasive surgeries on the thoracolumbar spine will also decrease from nearly 40,000 to 5,600 yuan per set.
The administration said that 152 out of 171 companies participating in a tender held in Shanghai on Monday won bidding. Both domestic and foreign enterprises took part.
Medical equipment has become the focus in China's latest efforts to reduce the financial burden of patients via national bulk-buy programs, which see manufacturers offer heavy discounts in exchange for large-volume contracts with public hospitals.
Previously, bulk-buy programs for artificial joints and coronary stents had been rolled out.