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China's centralized purchasing leads to 90% drop in price of coronary stents

Updated: Nov 06,2020 07:19    Xinhua

TIANJIN — Coronary stents, once priced at more than 10,000 yuan (about $1,500) each, are expected to become available in Chinese hospitals at roughly 1,000 yuan for the treatment of coronary heart disease.

That estimate comes from the results of the initial round of the Chinese government's centralized procurement program for high-value medical commodities, which were unveiled on Nov 5 in North China's Tianjin city.

The 10 varieties of coronary stents that were successful following bidding saw their average price down to around 700 yuan from about 13,000 yuan, according to the office in charge of the program.

They cover mainstream products now commonly used in health institutions, with quantities accounting for more than 70 percent of the intended purchase volumes of these institutions.

The average price for the same products from the same enterprises has decreased by 93 percent from 2019. The average price reduction for domestically made products is 92 percent, and it is 95 percent for imported products.

It is estimated that the price cut due to centralized purchasing will save patients some 10.9 billion yuan in related expenses.

The selected products are from eight of a total of 11 Chinese and foreign enterprises that joined the bidding.

More than 2,400 health institutions across China participated in the centralized procurement, including those who usually purchase more than 500 coronary stents a year.

The first year under this round of centralized procurement, which covers a two-year period, will see a total purchase of 1.07 million coronary stents by the institutions, equivalent to 65 percent of their total purchase volumes in 2019.

Zhong Dongbo, an official in charge of drug bidding and procurement at the National Healthcare Security Administration, hailed the centralized procurement results as a development benefiting patients as well as promoting the high-quality development of pharmaceutical sectors.

The coronary stent centralized procurement is among Chinese government-led efforts to address inflated prices and other ills in the distribution of pricey medical supplies, representing a key link in deepening medical centralized procurement reform, according to officials.

It is expected that the coronary stents purchased under the centralized procurement program will be available to patients starting from January 2021.