China Regulations Tracker: Feb 2021
Writer: Minhua Chu
Editor: Justin Fischer
China's fourth batch of volume-based procurements (VBP) commenced in Shanghai on February 3. The list featured 45 drugs, covering a variety of therapeutic areas such as hypertension, diabetes, digestive diseases, psychiatric diseases and malignant tumors. 152 enterprises participated, resulting in 118 winning enterprises and 158 winning products, with an average price reduction of 52%. 71% of all companies on the list were procured. Among them were five products from five multinational pharmaceutical companies. Hospitals are expected to accept shipments of the drugs since May 2021.
According to MedCloud, a China-based training and consulting company that follows market access in the pharmaceutical industry, 50 products underwent a price reduction of more than 80%, while 18 underwent a price reduction of at least 90%.
Several commonly used drugs will see significantly price reductions. For example, esomeprazole enteric dissolved tablets (20mg/tablet), which are used for for the treatment of gastric ulcers, will drop from RMB 9 (about $1.22) to RMB 3 (about $0.46) per tablet. This will amount to a savings of RMB 240 (about $36.60) per treatment course. Likewise, the price of multiple myeloma therapy bortezomib injections will drop from RMB 1,500 (about $228.90) to RMB 600 (about $91.60) per vial. This will save patients roughly RMB 36,000 (about $5494.30 USD) per treatment course.
Most MNCs chose to give up the competition with high prices. There are, however, still a few MNCs that cut prices significantly to win the VBP. Propofol medium and long chain injectable emulsion (0.2g * 5), manufactured by Fresenius Kabi, won the VBP with the lowest price at RMB 49.30 (about $7.52) per vial. The price is even lower than generic drugs manufactured by domestic enterprises.
Finally, five products from five MNCs were selected, including two original drugs amisulpride tablets(Sanofi), propofol medium/long chain injectable emulsion (Fresenius Kabi), and another three generics from Sandoz, Aurobindo, and Eisai.