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National essential drugs system(guójiā jīběn yàowù zhìdù):国家基本药物制度

China Daily | Updated: 2018-09-21 08:35

The State Council, China's Cabinet, issued a guiding document on Thursday with the aim of improving the national essential drugs system so as to ensure adequate supply of essential drugs.

According to World Health Organization, essential drugs refer to those medicines that meet the basic medical needs of and are fairly accessible to the people, as well as inexpensive and safe to use. Yet many pharmaceutical companies refrain from producing essential drugs because the profit margin is very low. As a result, it is common practice for governments of developing countries to prepare a list of essential drugs and ensure their supply.

The types of essential drugs in China have increased from 520 to 685, and the document has introduced new polices that cover the entire process, from the definition and production to marketing and consumption of essential drugs. The document also says the list of essential drugs should be updated every three years.

For those essential drugs that enterprises refrain from producing, the document requires the government to ensure their supply by making sure certain pharmaceutical companies produce them.

Moreover, the prices of essential drugs must be kept within a reasonable range and strict supervision should be maintained to ensure their quality, so they are affordable for ordinary people and safe to use.

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