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Premier warns against unreasonable medicine price hikes

Updated: Apr 6,2019 3:00 PM

Premier Li Keqiang has called for unreasonable price hikes in vital medicines to be addressed.

“We must study the causes of the medicine shortage, and prevent unreasonable price hikes of common medicines in urgent need to ensure their supply,” Premier Li said at the State Council executive meeting on April 3.

The meeting heard reports on centralized medicine procurement, medicine shortages and medical assistance.

“A reasonable fluctuation of medicine prices is normal, but we must pay attention to substantial increases,” Premier Li said, adding that shortages of common first-aid medicines in clinics will threaten people’s lives and health.

Speaking on the supply of essential drugs and first-aid medicines, Premier Li called for improvements in monitoring and warning mechanisms.

He also said that the supply of medicines required in clinics that do not have alternatives and are subject to shortages should be ensured through increasing reserves, centralized procurement or fixed-point production, to prevent unreasonable price increases.

The meeting also decided to further promote national centralized medicine procurement in pilot cities.

As of April 1, 11 cities across the country have officially launched the pilot projects, and expenses for medicine paid by patients and medical insurance funds have been significantly reduced in the pilot cities.

“To promote pilot centralized medicine procurement, more reasonable approaches must be adopted like actuarial calculations. This will not only sustain medical insurance, but will also ease the burden on patients,” the Premier said.

The meeting decided to improve the centralized procurement system and strengthen quality supervision on medicines, while ensuring their supply for price reduction and for the benefit of the people.

Medical assistance systems should be further improved while ensuring basic medical care, with detailed insurance payment aid and direct assistance, according to the meeting.