Policy digest

Medicine procurement program to be launched

A pilot program for the pooled procurement of pharmaceuticals will be launched in 11 cities as part of measures to cut the prices of key medicines, according to a guideline published on Thursday.

The pilot program will operate in Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, Tianjin and seven other cities, the guideline issued by the General Office of the State Council said.

The pilot pooled procurement mechanism will enable reductions in drug prices, reduce the cost of business transactions and guide the use of drugs by medical institutions, the guideline said. Procurement will be open to all approved enterprises that can produce drugs on the procurement list in the Chinese mainland.

A coalition will be established among public medical institutions to conduct the pooled procurement. The scope of the pilot program will be expanded after a summary of its efforts, the guideline said.

As part of the program, healthcare security authorities will conduct pooled procurement of drugs based on the amount required by public medical institutions in targeted regions. The total procurement amount will be between 60 and 70 percent of the total amount of drugs required at such institutions.

The guideline also called for efforts to ensure the quality and supply of drugs. A whole-chain quality supervision system will be implemented, covering the production, circulation and use of drugs selected in the procurement. Pharmaceutical companies selected in the procurement will have the quality of their products and supply capacities assessed, and emergency reserves of drugs will also be established.

It also called for medical institutions to settle drug payments on time with producers to reduce the cost of transactions.

A working group will be established by the General Office of the State Council, State Medical Insurance Administration, National Health Commission and State Food and Drug Administration to lead the 12-month pilot program.

Regulation on political and legal affairs

The Communist Party of China Central Committee published a new regulation on its work related to political and legal affairs on Friday.

The regulation, which translates the Party’s long-term successful experience in leading the nation’s political and legal work into institutional achievements, stresses the absolute leadership of the CPC Central Committee over political and legal affairs.

Party committees above county level are also responsible for leadership of political and legal affairs in their regions under the regulation.

It also highlighted the need to support Party’s units related to political and legal affairs in assuming their duties in accordance with the law and to ensure the judicial organs assume their duties independently.

It also called for Party units to safeguard national political security, ensure social stability and promote social equality and justice.

The regulation, which took effect on Jan 13, also made clear the duties and work rules of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the CPC Central Committee.