China to cut prices of GSK, AstraZeneca drugs
Chinese health authorities have announced steps to cut the prices of three costly drugs in their latest attempt to reduce the cost of healthcare in the huge nation.
GSK’s hepatitis B drug, Viread, is to fall from 1,500 yuan a month to 490 (equivalent of $75), which is a fall of two thirds, while AstraZeneca’s lung cancer pill Iressa is set to be cut by more than half from 15,000 to 7,000. Another lung cancer treatment, Icotinib made by China’s Betta Pharmaceuticals, will fall from 12,000 yuan a month to 5,500.
The lower price of Viread will now mean patients can access the drug under state healthcare policies, and will no longer have to pay for it themselves. GSK, meanwhile, are trying to restore sales levels in China after a damaging bribery scandal seen the company pay a record fine of $490 million in 2014.
Although the home of the world’s largest population, China is a tough market for pharmaceuticals. According to Reuters, the high cost of healthcare is a major point of contention in China and this new drive to lower the price of drugs will only challenge pharmaceuticals firms more, as indigenous drug makers grow their market share in the Far East.
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