China has broadened a pilot drug bulk-buying programme to almost the entire country in an attempt to negotiate lower prices from drug manufacturers, as reported by Fidelity.
The programme introduced last year involved 11 Chinese cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, joining together behind a tender process to bulk-buy 25 types of drugs, which led to the cost of some medicines falling over 90%.
According to the drug procurement branch of the Shanghai Healthcare Security Administration, the scheme will now be expanded to 25 provinces and regions.
The drugs on the list include off-patent products that are made by large pharmaceutical firms, but which have generics made by local players, such as Eli Lilly's cancer treatment Alimta and Novartis' leukaemia therapy Gleevec.
The tenders for the two drugs in last year's pilot programme were won by Chinese drugmakers' generic products, the news source said.
Meanwhile, Novartis and Eli Lilly offered to cut prices for Gleevec and Alimta by about 30% in some provinces earlier this year, according to releases on local governments' drug procurement websites.
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