Chinese regulations on tendering and bidding practices published by the Ministry of Finance (MOF) in July are a promising sign for US pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers that government procurement behavior will be better regulated to guarantee consideration of quality alongside price. However, true improvement for the industry will require regulators to faithfully implement the law and refrain from unofficial practices such as local favoritism, which sometimes plague procurement processes.
Recently announced provincial reimbursement drug lists (PRDLs) provide possible new opportunities for US pharmaceutical companies seeking to expand market reach for their drugs in China. These updated subnational lists largely reflect the national reimbursement drug list (NRDL), which was released by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MOHRSS) on March 17 for the first time in eight years. However, some PRDLs include potential new openings for drugs that were not among the 300 added to the most recent NRDL update.
The Chinese healthcare sector, which accounted for 6 percent of the country’s GDP in 2016, is expected to capture a 10 percent share in the coming years. Racing to establish a modern system of coverage, services, and products to accommodate the world’s largest population and fastest growing economy, China faces a number of development challenges. As China increasingly makes use of foreign products, services, and expertise to accomplish its reform goals, foreign companies are in a position to advance China’s reform goals in the healthcare sector, if allowed market access.