China's NPC meeting opens with healthcare at top of agenda



China’s major political bodies, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and the National People’s Congress (NPC), began their delayed annual meetings today in Beijing. The“Two Sessions”meeting kicked off with several proposals impacting the healthcare industry.

Premier Li Keqiang: drive up health infrastructure and primary medical services

Premier Li's government work report included pledges to pump up public health infrastructure, based around a“life first” principle and motto. This will include reforms to the disease prevention and control system, improvements to infectious diseases reporting and early warning system, and the prompt and transparent release of epidemic information. The country also vows to make good use of special anti-epidemic national funding, and increase investment in research and development of vaccines, drugs and rapid detection kits, medical facilities for epidemic prevention and treatment, mobile laboratories, and emergency supply security, primary health and epidemic prevention.

The per capita financial subsidy for resident Basic Medical Insurance (BMI) will be increased by RMB 30 (USD 4.20), and direct out-patient payment settlement between provinces will be piloted. Medical institutions hit by the COVID-19 pandemic will be supported financially. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) will continue to receive special support.

Yu Luming: HPV vaccines involved in national immunization

CPPCC member and Director of Beijing Municipal Medical Insurance Bureau Yu Luming proposed that human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines should be added to the national immunization plan, and made freely available to girls aged 9-14 in order to minimize the life-threatening cervical cancer caused by HPV.

The low rate of HPV vaccination among women of appropriate age in China is mainly due to lack of vaccine suppliers, limited supply capacity, and exorbitant prices of imported vaccines. The first batch of domestic bivalent HPV vaccines was released by the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) in May 2020, at half the price of similar imported vaccines.

Dr Ding Lieming: secure emergency supplies of cancer drugs

Betta Pharma CEO and National People’s Congress deputy Ding Lieming proposed that a batch of targeted cancer drugs and others with clear efficacy addressing urgent clinical needs should be included in the national emergency supply security system. Once a major public event occurs, these drugs can be allocated uniformly and supplied alongside with disaster relief materials to ensure normal and timely medication for cancer patients.

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