China expands drug bulk-buy programme, puts pressure on pharma firms - (Fidelity via NewsPoints Desk)

  • 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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