(ECNS)-- China will launch three measures on May 1 to lower the retail price of cancer drugs, said Zeng Yixin, deputy director of the National Health Commission.
Zeng said the country will reduce the tariff rate for imported drugs to zero, purchase anti-cancer drugs covered by the medical insurance system through government procurement and also start negotiations on drugs currently not covered by the system.
It was added that cancer is the top killer in China, with both the incidence and death rate rising. Although there are new drugs on the market, their prices are relatively high and worsen medical costs for patients.
China announced on Monday it would exempt import tariffs on drugs including 103 for cancer from May 1 to fulfill its pledge of wider opening of the Chinese market.
For cancer drugs covered by the country's medical insurance system, China will try to form a unified purchasing price through centralized government procurement and negotiations.
Medical insurance authorities will also organize experts to review cancer drugs currently not incorporated in the catalogue for medical insurance reimbursement and start negotiations to add those qualified to the range.
China will also boost support of research into new cancer drugs, speed up the approval process for cancer treatment medicine and prevention, and lower the cost for drug distribution.
Zeng said the National Health Commission will cooperate with other governmental departments to minimize medical costs for cancer patients.