China has unveiled plans to reduce the maximum retail prices for some cancer, immune and blood system drugs by about 17%.
According to a statement from the National Development and Reform Commission, and reported by Bloomberg, "oncology, immune and blood system drugs are costly and have a greater impact on patients, so lowering their prices can effectively reduce the burden”. The cuts, effective October 8, will affect 95 medicines and more than 200 formulations.
The NDRC says the cuts will be applied to drugs with “high daily costs”, and include patented and innovative medicines. Cheaper treatments will not be affected.
Jason Mann, an analyst at Barclay's who specialises in China healthcare and pharmaceuticals, told Reuters the price reductions will eat into the margins of manufacturers and distributors, but companies with diversified drug portfolios will be less affected. He added that the NDRC has reduced the maximum retail prices, "but in many cases these drugs will sell for less than the maximum price due to market forces, so it sounds a bit more scary for the manufacturer than it really is".