Sixty-one types of medicines listed in China’s fifth-round centralized drug procurement program have become available in Shenzhen at significantly lower prices, the city’s health care security bureau said Monday.
These drugs are now available in all public hospitals in Shenzhen, as well as private medical institutions and retail pharmacies that have joined the city’s medical insurance program.
According to statistics, Shenzhen’s agreed purchase volume of the country’s fifth-round centrally procured drugs is 25.27 million tablets/bags/pieces, costing around 60.23 million yuan (US$9.33 million) for the first year. The city will save 137 million yuan in procurement costs annually if calculated based on an average 56-percent price cut.
The fifth-round centralized drug procurement is the largest one of its kind so far, with the most bid-winning foreign-funded pharmaceutical enterprises, the Daily reported. The 61 medicine types in the program cover hypertension, coronary heart disease, diabetes, gastrointestinal diseases, and other major illnesses such as lung, breast and colorectal cancers.
Medicines selected through the Chinese Government’s fifth-round centralized drug procurement program are 56 percent cheaper than normal, on average, for those public health facilities that purchase them. The biggest price decline was more than 98 percent, statistics showed.
For instance, the price of tumor drug “gemcitabine hydrochloride for injection” (0.2g*5 bottles/box) has decreased from 755 yuan to 40 yuan, down 94.7 percent, while the price of antibiotic “ceftriaxone sodium for injection” (1g*10 bottles/box) has dropped from 431 yuan to 26.6 yuan, down 93.83 percent.
China’s centralized procurement system was launched in 2019 and experts have hailed it as a means to boost drug accessibility and reduce medical financial burdens for Chinese patients, according to Xinhua.