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China issues list of generics needed in the country Posted 30/08/2019

Authorities in China have introduced an initiative which the country hopes will boost the development of generics by encouraging pharmaceutical companies to develop and produce them.

On 20 June 2019, China’s National Health Commission (NHC) published its first list of 34 drugs for which the patents have, or will soon, expire and currently have no generics available.

The 34 medicines were proposed by experts from the NHC, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the National Medical Products Administration, and the National Intellectual Property Administration.

The drugs are all considered to be urgently needed generics for public health and safety, according to the NHC. They include anti-HIV drugs rilpivirine and abacavir, leukaemia drug azathioprine, multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone (glatiramer acetate) and antiviral cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection treatment Valcyte (valganciclovir).

The initiative is part of a plan to reduce drug costs in China and it is not the first scheme to be introduced recently. In April 2018, the State Council, China’s cabinet, unveiled a new policy whereby some generics manufacturers could qualify for a ‘high-tech enterprise’ designation that comes with a 15% corporate tax rate, compared to the 25% rate for other companies [1]. In March 2019, in a bid to lower drug prices for patients and reduce costs for manufacturers, the Chinese State Medical Insurance Administration introduced a national pilot scheme for tendering [2].

The 34 medicines on the list are the first batch of generics for which production will be encouraged, according to the NHC. However, the commission added that they will not be the last. The NHC intends to release a renewed list by the end of each year starting from 2020.

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References
1. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Pilot procurement scheme in China cuts drug prices [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2019 Aug 30]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/Generics/General/Pilot-procurement-scheme-in-China-cuts-drug-prices
2. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. China introduces new policy to boost generics [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2019 Aug 30]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/Policies-Legislation/China-introduces-new-policy-to-boost-generics

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