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China plans to include more cancer drugs in its basic medical insurance program by the end of this year, part of the country"s decadelong effort to make its medical service affordable.
Xiong Xianjun, director of the National Healthcare Security Administration"s drug regulation division, said the move will expand the scope of expensive drugs covered by the national security network and is expected to significantly reduce the financial burden of cancer patients.
Xiong said the upcoming drug inclusion follows multiple measures last year to rein in the medical spending of individuals, and that his administration will continue to engage in price negotiations with pharmaceutical companies to curb medical costs.
Pilot areas where local governments are in charge of the purchasing and distribution of medicines will be expanded to slash unnecessary costs and lower drug prices.
"We"re researching how to enlarge the pilot areas, involve more regions and drugs in it, so that more patients can reap the benefits of centralized purchasing," he said.
Xiong was speaking at a news briefing held by the State Council Information Office on Monday, which aimed at interpreting a directive issued by the central government on June 4.
The directive has unveiled the government"s major tasks in the medical and healthcare system this year as it seeks to deepen reform in the sector. It also reiterated the central authorities" pledge to boost healthcare accessibility and affordability.
The latest price-curbing pledges came as China has worked over the last decade to lower medical costs, which many have blamed as one of the major causes for family bankruptcy and rural poverty. One of the most crucial steps is the rollout of the nationwide healthcare insurance system in 2010, which covers both urban and rural residents.
Last year alone, the administration negotiated the price of up to 14 cancer drugs that were already covered by the basic insurance, and added another 17 drugs to the list.
The administration said that by the end of March, hospitals and pharmacies nationwide had spent some 2.23 billion yuan ($321 million) purchasing the newly included drugs, which is 3.2 billion yuan less than what they would have cost before the inclusion.
More than 200,000 patients have benefited from the inclusion, with the reimbursement reaching 1.05 billion yuan, it said.
Patients have also saved medical expenses of up to 2.3 billion yuan last year due to the centralized purchasing of cancer drugs.pride rubber braceletrubber bracelets custom cheapto write love on her arms wristband ukcustom infinity braceletcrossfit silicone wristbands