China’s National Health Plan Includes Lifesaving Drugs

According to a report by China Youth Daily, Chinese people will soon have access to free lifesaving medications.

Head of the State Medical Insurance Administration Hu Jinglin vowed to make this happen through China’s national health plan this 2019. Although there are no specific details on what drugs will be covered, many are hoping that rare conditions like pulmonary hypertension will be included.

Financial burden

Although China is the world’s second-largest economy, millions of people also suffer from the financial burden of medications.

In fact, drugs for pulmonary hypertension costs roughly $600 or 4,000 yuan for a box of 56 tablets. This makes treatment inaccessible for many as the price is expensive. Some even opt for generic versions of this drug which only costs about 10 yuan per tablet.

“Some give up on treatment because of the huge economic burden that comes with it. Others opt for generic drugs from India, which are cheaper but harder to predict,” said Yu Fu, a person living with the deadly pulmonary hypertension.

Meanwhile, for cancer-fighting drugs, the Chinese Insurance Administration already decreased the tax for almost 21 drugs. Last year, they also added 17 more cancer medications to the public medical insurance plan.

The Chinese government is still on the works to see if providing free medications for rare and life-threatening diseases is possible. During the high profile political meetings happened last March 2 and 3 in Beijing, the issue of affordable and even free medicines were discussed.