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Diseases threaten economic growth (2)

(China Daily)

11:12, April 03, 2012

$558 billion cost

Unless preventative steps are taken, early deaths from so-called non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer will crimp China's national income by $558 billion in the decade ending 2015, according to the World Health Organization. Half of sufferers who die of chronic diseases are under 65 years of age, according to the World Bank.

China will consider expanding its healthcare workforce and increasing resources near major cities to improve access, Chen said.

The government will also look at introducing standards to ensure quality isn't compromised amid a new tendering system tested in East China's Anhui province that encourages drugmakers to compete for State contracts to supply essential medicines.

"In evaluating the essential medicines, we need to put quality as the priority and not just the price," Chen said. "The prices of drugs and equipment are a little bit high in China. Balancing the growth of the industry and controlling health expenditure is both a challenge and a dilemma for the government."

Tobacco also presents another dilemma in China, the world's biggest producer and consumer of the aromatic leaves, accounting for 38 percent of cigarettes smoked worldwide in 2009.

"The commercial activities of the tobacco companies should be totally separate from administrative supervision," Chen said.

"One of the key aims is to enhance the government's supervision of the commercial activities related to tobacco," he said.

【1】 【2】

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