(Yicai Global) Dec. 20 -- The Chinese government has included 17 anti-cancer drugs in the national health insurance plan to ease financial pressure on patients from these costly medicines, but this will not stress local medical funds, Shanghai officials said.
Anti-cancer drugs included in the scheme are calculated to cost about CNY500 million (USD72.5 million), and Shanghai has around CNY70 billion (USD10.2 billion) to CNY80 billion in medical insurance funds, so inclusion of these drugs will only slightly impact health insurance financing, said Zheng Shuzhong, deputy chief of Shanghai's human resources and social security bureau.
Dying to Survive, a hit Chinese movie this year, depicts the high treatment costs cancer patients incur, and has brought the high prices of drugs, anti-cancer drugs in particular, into focus. The Chinese government announced a plan in October to include 17 of these pharmaceuticals in the social medical insurance scheme.
These are all tumor treatment drugs which have precise curative effects and which patients covered under the scheme badly need. They encompass non-small cell lung cancer, kidney cancer, colorectal cancer, melanoma and lymphoma.
Government agencies and medical institutions will negotiate with major pharma firms and buy drugs in a unified way, per the new policies. These medications' prices will thus drop 57 percent on average after the new policies kick in, while most imported drugs' prices after negotiation are 36 percent lower than market prices in surrounding countries and regions, per calculations.
Editor: Ben Armour