China introduces new laws to ensure steady supply of drugs
China’s National Health Commission (NHC) has said it will monitor the country’s drugs market more closely in order to ensure a sufficient supply of essential medicines.
Zeng Yixin, vice minister of the NHC, said the commission would increase the supply of bulk drug substance and regulate pricing in an effort to ensure a steady supply.
“Last year we saw the shortage of some medicines but only temporarily or regionally,” Zeng said. “The shortage was mostly caused by the structural imbalance between the supply and demand, the monopoly of certain bulk drug substance or inefficient distribution.”
The move comes after the adoption of a number of policies, intended to ensure the steady supply of medicines, in 2018.
The new measures saw the introduction of a catalogue of medicines in short supply. Pharmaceutical companies were also required to report which medicines they no longer produce.
The government subsequently cracked down on malpractice in the pharmaceutical market as two firms were fined 12.43 million yuan ($1.85 million) for creating a monopoly on the bulk substance needed for the production of a widely used flu medicine.
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