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Premier Li Keqiang stresses drug price reduction

Updated: Apr 10,2016 1:52 PM

Medical reform in the country has entered a crucial stage and reducing drug prices can be seen as this reform’s breakthrough point, Premier Li Keqiang said on April 6 at the executive meeting of the State Council, which mapped out this year’s key goals to deepen medical system reform.

At the meeting, the Premier stressed on accelerating the establishment of drug price tracing mechanism, which can track the drug management, ensure the quality of drugs and make drug prices transparent.

One of the key goals in 2016’s medical system reform is to enhance centralized procurement of drugs in public hospitals, establish a mechanism to track drugs’ factory price, and record any price markups in the process of circulation. In addition, patients can choose to buy medicines in hospitals or at the pharmacies. A reserve system for high-demand and low-supply drugs should also be set up and more special drugs, such as those for HIV/AIDS, should be provided for free.

Apart from reduction in drug prices, the merit pay system in medical institutions should be improved by taking steps such as increasing the medical service fee, Premier Li said. An incentive mechanism linking medical staff’s responsibilities and work performance needs to be set up to highlight their technical and labor value, the Premier added.

Another key goal is to set up a tiered medical system in around 70 percent of prefecture-level cities across the country, the meeting decided. In-service and retired physicians in public hospitals should be encouraged to work at medical institutions at the grassroots level or open their own pilot health clinics.

Such encouragement can help promote the tiered medical system and greater efforts should be made to guarantee the implementation of those polices in efforts to further promote medical system reform in depth, the Premier said at the meeting.