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China’s NDRC said to consider lifting price caps on most drugs

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(Bloomberg) — China’s top economic planner is considering lifting price caps on most drugs sold in the country, according to a proposal sent to drug industry groups.

The government would let prices be set by the market and impose measures to keep drug costs from spiking, according to the proposal drafted by China’s National Development and Reform Commission and seen by Bloomberg News. The changes would take effect Jan. 1.

China currently imposes price controls on most medicines through caps and other methods such as state-run tenders as it seeks to contain health-care costs. Prices for patented drugs would be determined in negotiations by “multiple parties,” according to the proposal. It didn’t elaborate on how the process would work.

Price controls for certain products such as anesthesia drugs would remain because their production and circulation are strictly regulated. For medicines covered under the government’s health insurance system, payment standards would be set to guide the market, according to the proposal.

The NDRC didn’t immediately respond to a fax seeking comment. Shanghai Securities News earlier reported some of the proposed changes.

See also: Plans in showdown against high-cost drugs.