Diabetics in China have access to affordable treatment

Updated: Apr 18, 2024 chinadaily.com.cn Print
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Thanks to China's drug centralized procurement drive, diabetes patients have access to more affordable and advanced insulin injections, said the National Healthcare Security Administration on Wednesday.

China rolled out a bulk buy program targeting insulin injections in late 2021, leading to an average price cut of 48 percent. Insulin products chosen by the program became available at reduced prices in May 2022.

The administration said that about 650 million insulin doses involved in the program have been used at public hospitals nationwide since then. The annual usage amount has reached 350 million, compared with 250 million before the program was launched.

"The data suggests that as the financial burden of medications has been alleviated, diabetes patients have easier access to insulin therapies and have complied with standard regimens more strictly," said the administration.

The program has also narrowed price differences between advanced, third-generation insulin products and older versions. "The usage ratio of third-generation insulin doses rose from 58 to 78 percent after the program, nearing the level seen in European countries," it said.

The administration also stressed that the bulk buy program is aimed at curbing excessively high drug prices and guiding drugmakers to propose reasonable prices, while the massive domestic market also promises them large contracts.

Some industry participants have hyped up the perception that centralized procurement is all about soliciting the lowest bids, resulting in a misunderstanding that the bulk buy drive would affect drug quality due to extremely low prices.

The administration said that mainstream pharmaceuticals have all won bids during the program and the overall insulin price in China has dropped to relatively low prices compared to the global average.

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