China’s National Health Commission (NHC) has stated that it will monitor the country’s drugs market more closely in order to ensure a sufficient supply of essential medicines.
Zeng Yixin, vice minister of the NHC, said the commission would increase the supply of bulk drug substance and regulate pricing in an attempt to maintain a steady supply.
“Last year we saw the shortage of some medicines but only temporarily or regionally,” Zeng said. “The shortage was mostly caused by the structural imbalance between the supply and demand, the monopoly of certain bulk drug substance or inefficient distribution.”
This move comes after the adoption of a number of policies implemented last year, intended to ensure the steady supply of medicines. The new measures saw the introduction of a large range of medicines in short supply. Pharma companies were also required to report which medicines they no longer produce.
The government subsequently cracked down on malpractice in the pharmaceutical market as two firms were fined $1.85 million for creating a monopoly on the bulk substance required for the production of a widely used flu medicine.