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China issued national essential drug catalog

The Ministry of Health of China issued Decree No.69, National Essential Drug Catalog (Equipped Drugs for the Use of Primary Medical and Health Institutions) (Edition 2009). It will be carried out on September 21st of 2009. At the same time, “Implementation Opinions on the Establishment of National Essential Drug System” will be issued.

The national essential drug catalog is the national dispensatory contributed by the central government. Different from any catalog in history, the issue of the catalog is under the essential drug system. It states that the government guarantees the drug use covering rural and urban residents from the system level. The system includes production, distribution, pricing, equipped using, reimbursement and the policy of the zero-profit sales, etc. The national essential drug catalog is the national dispensatory contributed by the central government, so its implementation can be ensured. (Essential drugs refer to drugs that can meet people’s medical and health needs. In 1977, the WTO stipulated the first global essential drug catalog which contained 205 drugs and popularized it to the world. The new catalog of 2007 contains 320 drugs.)

The essential drug catalog that was originally planned to publish in April of 2009 finally came into being. National Essential Drug Catalog (Equipped Drugs for the Use of Primary Medical and Health Institutions) (Edition 2009) can be divided into 4 parts. The first part is about chemical medicine and biological products. The second part is about Chinese patent drugs. The third part is herbal pieces (publishing state-standard herbal pieces as the national essential drugs, except the ones the state stipulated additionally). The last part is the relevant explanations.

The catalog has 307 drugs. Among them, chemical medicine and biological products, which have 205 kinds, are classified according to clinical pharmacology. Chinese patent drugs, which have 102 kinds, are classified according to functions. The concrete kinds of herbal pieces are not listed.

In terms of the number, the number of products that are selected into the catalog is far less than over 600. It is even smaller than the scale of 2,033 drugs in 2004 edition’s essential drug catalog. After the repetitive discussions, the drug number of the catalog reduces greatly. In terms of the category, herbal pieces are first added to the catalog. Definitely, it is the equipped using part of primary medical and health institutions that is published this time. Other parts are the extension of the catalog base. They will be stipulated and come into being soon to coordinate with the reform of public hospitals.

The content of the essential drug system published this time not only stipulates the essential drug catalog, but also determines the relevant implementation details and management approaches. It explains concretely about the drug selection, production, circulation, use, pricing, reimbursement, monitoring and evaluation, etc. Especially the issue of National Essential Drug Catalog Management (Provisional) determines the management system to select and adjust the essential drug catalog, including the selection range, catalog formulation procedure, catalog adjustment (dynamic adjustment management is carried out; principally the adjustment is carried out every three years).This makes the process of formulating the catalog transparent, easy to understand and convenient to carry out.

Of course, “Implementation Opinions on the Establishment of National Essential Drug System” doesn’t have a definite explanation about how to compensate for primary medical and health care institutions. Maybe this ought to be gradually solved in the experimental process.

Source: China Research and Intelligence

by S. C.
10 september 2009, World News > Asia

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