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China issues essential drugs list as part of medical system reform
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07:54, August 19, 2009

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China's Health Ministry Tuesday issued a list of 307 essential drugs as part of its plan to create an essential medicine system in coming 10 years to ensure people's access to essential drugs and cut their medical costs.

Essential medicines refer to those which satisfy the health care needs and are available to the public at all times in adequate amounts and in appropriate dosage forms, at a price the public can afford.

According to the plan, by the end of this year, about 30 percent of state-owned grass-roots health institutions would be equipped with all the essential medicines on Tuesday's list and would be asked to give priorities to using them when treating patients.

By 2020, all state-owned health institutions in both urban and rural areas should give priorities to using essential drugs.

"Such measures would ensure most of the rural citizens with comparatively low incomes use cheap and safe medicines," said Fu Wei, an official of the Rural Health Department with the Health Ministry.

Fu said the essential drug system would finally help cut down medical costs which have aroused criticisms.

While the disposable income of China's urban and rural residents grew close to 20 times in the last two decades, their average medical costs soared to more than 130 times as much as they used to be.

"The system would help safeguard people's basic rights in using drugs, and promote the integration of drug manufacturers and distributors," said Chen Zhu, China's Health Minister.

According to the ministry, the essential medicine list will be adjusted every three years with respect to the changes of health demands.

The drugs which have been confirmed to cause serious adverse reactions would be removed from the list.

Building an essential drug system is part of China's three-year plan on medical reform unveiled last April, which aims to lay a solid foundation for equitable and universal access to essential health care for everyone in China by 2020.

Source: Xinhua


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