Millennium Post

Communist China to lift price controls on most drugs

Chinese regulators will lift price controls on most pharmaceutical drugs starting June 1 in hopes that the market-driven pricing system will keep medical costs in check, the National Development and Reform Commission announced on Tuesday.

Beijing has vowed to ease government controls in favour of market competition in as many areas as possible to improve efficiency, and experts say the upper-limit drug prices set by the government have become irrelevant because market prices are typically much lower.

"The new policy is merely a symbolic move," said Shi Lichen, a Beijing-based medical services consultant. The country's most powerful regulating agency said on its official website it would abandon the decades-long practice of price controls, except for narcotics and some psychiatric drugs, as part of drug price reform. The commission said it will leave the setting of drug prices to market competition while shifting to a role of supervising market behaviour. 
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