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China to enhance common medicine supply through new measures

Updated: Aug 17,2019 07:15 AM    Xinhua

BEIJING — China will establish a long-term mechanism to ensure a steady supply of basic and first-aid medicines at stable prices, according to a State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Aug 16.

Medicine procurement policies will be optimized in many ways, including encouraging the centralized procurement of medicines that have few alternatives and unstable supply, the meeting noted.

The country is also mulling expanding the import of much-needed medicines and facilitating the upgrading of relevant domestic industries.

Medical establishments will face tighter drug use supervision so that basic medicines can take priority in both procurement and utilization. At State-run grassroots hospitals, the proportion of basic medicines to their total drug stock will rise further.

The meeting also decided to improve early warning systems for medicine shortages, implement production suspension reporting system, prompt medical institutions to set inventory warning lines and build up a reserve for medicine that may be in severe shortage.

Supervision over drug pricing will be tightened to prevent unreasonable price hikes, while pharmaceutical firms monopolizing or rigging drug prices will be fined, denied market access or even be subject to criminal punishment, the meeting noted.