NHC’s 2019 tasks include managing new EDL, RDL drug listings

The National Health Commission (NHC) standing committee held its first press conference of the new year, when progress during 2018 and medical work priorities for the new year were up for discussion.

A total of 10 ten key work tasks for 2019 were outlined by NHC deputy spokesperson Hu Qiangqiang. Of most significance for the pharmaceutical market will be the ongoing efforts to promote “Unified medicine”, referring to reforms to link drug policy, the Essential Drug List (EDL) system, and Basic Medical Insurance (BMI) payment reforms.

Among the key focus points for the NHC will be implementation and management of last year’s new EDL and Reimbursement Drug List (RDL) listings. The NHC added 12 cancer and hepatitis C virus drugs to the EDL, while the State Medical Insurance Administration (SMIA) added 17 oncology drugs to the RDL after price negotiations. The NHC will therefore be strongly focused on devising clinical pathways and drug guidelines to guide usage of the new listings. The NHC spokesperson confirmed that the 17 new RDL listings for cancer drugs will not be included in general hospital reform targets to reduce the amount of hospital income derived from drug sales. However, guidelines on what constitutes fair usage of these drugs will also need to be devised.

The NHC also revealed that last year’s 17 new anti-cancer RDL listings have now been made available in 1,386 hospitals across China’s 32 provinces and regions, with a over 600,000 product units administered to patients.

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