Drugmakers agree to halve prices to get on China state insurance list

BEIJING (CNA) – Drugmakers agreed to cut prices by around 50 per cent on average for over 100 medicines to have them included in China’s state medical insurance scheme from March, potentially heralding a massive leap in sales.

The National Healthcare Security Administration (NHSA) said in a statement yesterday 119 medicines would be added to the National Reimbursement Drugs List with an average price reduction of 50.64 per cent.

Ninety-six of them are branded drugs with no generic versions available in the domestic market, according to the statement. They included some key products made by foreign pharmaceutical companies, such as Novartis’ blockbuster inflammation drug Cosentyx.

The list also included some medicines for COVID-19.

The new drug list will be effective from March 2021, NHSA said. Inclusion on the list could potentially boost demand for medicines, as patients could be reimbursed for a significant portion of the costs.

The NHSA updates its list annually. Average sales of medicines added last time jumped by nearly 2,000 per cent during a nine-month period of 2020, according to a research by ICBC International Research analysts.