Pharmacists work at a hospital in Enshi, Central China's Hubei province. (Photo: VCG)
The government will allow inclusion of more medicines for serious diseases in the list of medical insurance reimbursement, following a successful attempt in 2018, said a senior health official Tuesday.
"The government will try to lower the prices of these medicines through negotiations with pharmaceutical firms," said Xiong Xianjun, a senior official with the National Healthcare Security Administration, at a press conference held in Beijing.
Seventeen types of cancer medicines were included on China's medical insurance reimbursement list last year, with their payment standards 56.7 percent lower than their retail prices on average.
By the end of last year, Chinese hospitals and pharmacies purchased 1.84 million doses of the cancer medicines at the lower prices reached by the government with suppliers, according to Xiong.
They paid 562 million yuan (about $83.88 million) for the medicines, 918 million yuan less than if the medicines were sold at the retail price, he said.
The medical insurance fund paid out 256 million yuan to the insurance policy takers for the cost of the medicines in 2018, he added.