Chinese government steps in to ensure supply of essential medicine

By Ben Hargreaves contact

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/Ralf Geithe)
(Image: Getty/Ralf Geithe)

Related tags: China, Essential medicine list, Drug substances

China’s NHC announces that it will monitor the market for essential medicines and act to increase the supply of drug substances and regulate pricing.

The announcement​ from the Chinese government comes after it noted that it recorded instances of medicine shortages in 2018.

To prevent this from happening again, Zeng Yixin, vice minister of the National Health Commission (NHC), stated that the department would work more closely with the pharmaceutical industry.

Yixin said, “The health department will play a better part in coordinating among pharmaceutical firms, drug stores, hospitals, and other regulatory agencies.”

Part of its action will be to monitor the market ‘more closely’ and, where appropriate, increase the supply of bulk drug substances.

This is in addition to action that the government implemented the previous year, which saw the government create a state catalogue for medicines in short supply and require companies to report when they cease to manufacture medicines.

Yixin stated that the shortages were the result of “the structural imbalance between supply and demand, the monopoly of certain bulk drug substance or inefficient distribution.”

The statement from the NHC also noted that government regulators have begun cracking down on malpractice in the pharmaceutical market.

During last year, a vaccine maker caused a public scandal over the production of certain vaccines for the Chinese public, after it was revealed that it had forged production documents​.

This month also saw an explosion at pharmaceutical plant leave 10 dead and a dozen injured​, with an investigation into the cause on-going.

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