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Vice premier calls for stopping hospitals from relying on drug sales


08:22, July 20, 2012

Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang, who is also head of the State Council's leading group on health care system reform, presides overs a meeting on deepening the country's medical reform in Beijing, capital of China, July 19, 2012. (Xinhua/Huang Jingwen)

BEIJING, July 19 (Xinhua) -- Vice Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday called for deepening medical reform, strengthening the guarantee for serious diseases and stopping hospitals from relying on drug sales.

The medical reform, initiated in 2009, is significant as it "has an overall impact and concerns immediate public interests," Li, also a Standing Committee member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said at a meeting.

"Priority should be shifted to the improvement of medical treatment and service quality," he said.

Li said the drug markup policy should be eliminated, and the charging dispensing fees for doctors' diagnosis, to be covered by the healthcare insurance, should be established, so as to reduce patients' burden and increase payment for medical staff, who would be mobilized to offer quality service and dispense prescriptions more reasonably.

China's medical sector has been harshly criticized for its random prescriptions, high prices and inadequate medical resources, as doctors are wrongly encouraged by the current system to prescribe expensive or improper drugs to patients, from which hospitals usually seek profits.

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