China reviewing the conduct of its pharma companies

Government has called for public comment and suggestions on how to counter bribery in the sale and purchase of medicines to counter 'untrustworthy' activity in procurement and production 

China reviewing the conduct of its pharma companies
Workers package vaccines at a lab at a pharmaceutical company in Shenyang in northeast China in this photo from June 2020. There are concerns about the quality and price of medicines, as well as the production of fake drugs, and bribery in the procurement process at state hospitals. Photo: Noel Celis / AFP.

(ATF) China plans to launch a nationwide improvement of its health system in a bid to lower pharmaceutical costs, state media outlet CCTV said.

The National Medical Insurance Bureau has asked for public comment until July 31 on a bill titled "Guiding Opinions on Establishing a Medical Price and Credit Evaluation System”. The public can submit comments or suggestions in writing or via email.

According to the draft for comments, the establishment of a list of credit evaluation catalogues is intended to remedy the behaviour of pharmaceutical manufacturers who give rebates to medical institutions, centralised procurement institutions, and staff at all levels and types of medical institutions involved in the purchase and sales processes.

According to the National Medical Insurance Administration, a list of drug prices and untrustworthy items will be established – as fake medicine is a major problem in China.

The "untrustworthy items" on the list include but are not limited to those linked to firms giving kickbacks or other improper benefits in the purchase and sale of medicines.

The issues referred to include "medical commercial bribery, abuse of market dominance, tax-related violations, improper price behaviour, malicious violation of contract agreements and disrupting the order of centralised procurement".

Pharmaceutical companies that seek illegitimate benefits through “untrustworthy items” listed in the catalogue in the process of pricing, bidding, contract performance, marketing, or other activities, shall be included in the review of medicinal prices and credit evaluation.

People say pharmaceutical companies will need to undergo as sea change in their behaviour to adhere to this new legislation.