Huge price reduction on medicines to benefit more in Shanxi



A man buys medicine at the Second Hospital of Shanxi Medical University. [Photo/Shanxi Daily]

The prices of more than 100 kinds of medications in North China's Shanxi province, covering medicines for chronic diseases, infections and tumors, will be significantly reduced from Nov 1 onwards. 

Among them, the third batch of 55 drugs purchased by 264 medical institutions in Taiyuan city will have an average price drop of 53 percent, with some medicines seeing price reductions of up to 95 percent. Patients in the city can save 5.92 million yuan ($884,264) in medical expenses during these healthcare institutions' first centralized medicine purchase period.

Shanxi healthcare institutions have previously participated in the national centralized procurement and provincial centralized procurement of drugs, as well as the centralized purchase of medical consumables such as coronary stents.

"Patients are the biggest beneficiaries in the centralized procurement of coronary stents," said Gao Fen, chief physician of the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine in the Second Hospital of Shanxi Medical University.

He added that patients used to choose other treatment measures instead of coronary stents and that the price reduction is of great value to emergency patients, especially those with myocardial infarction.

In 2019, 68 public medical institutions across Shanxi province launched a pilot project for the centralized procurement and use of coronary stents with 13 products from eight selected companies. The average price reduction of selected coronary stents reached 52.98 percent, and the new price took effect on May 1 this year.

Despite the price reduction, the medicine quality will remain consistent. Zhao Liping, a pharmacist in the Second People's Hospital of Taiyuan, said that all selected drugs are mainly original drugs (imported drugs) and generic drugs that have passed the national drug regulatory authority's consistency evaluation.

The centralized procurement of drugs means trading quantity for price and pushes pharmaceutical enterprises to produce medicines at full capacity with supporting policies and guarantees at the national level.

Centralized drug procurement can lead to an overall decline in the price of drugs and force high-priced primary drugs to reduce their prices to promote sales, allowing over-reviewed generic medications to be quickly put into clinical use.

All of these measures have helped form a positive circle for medicine circulation and benefited more patients.