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Pharmaceuticals Slashed Prices Under China’s Bulk-Buying Program

Pharmaceuticals Slashed Prices Under China’s Bulk-Buying Program

BEIJING, China – Global pharmaceuticals and the broader drug makers slashed prices under the national bulk-buying program of China.

On Friday, government officials of the country stated that major pharmaceuticals and generic drug makers reduced average prices on their select off-patent products by 53%. It was in line with the latest bidding under the bulk-buying program of China.

The Chinese government has long been pushing forward to get the program going, which required pharmaceutical companies have to go under a bidding process and chop their prices as much until they can be considered enough compared to generic copies. The process will also allow drug makers to be given access to offer their products to public hospitals in China through the large-volume procurement program of the government.

Some of the global pharmaceutical majors, such as Merck and AstraZeneca, have already warned regarding the increasing price pressures on their older brands in China, which is the second-largest drug market in the world.

The latest bidding was on Friday, which involved 122 pharmaceutical companies and 33 different drugs. During the bidding, Bayer has chopped the price for its Acarbose product, which is its known diabetes treatment, to 0.18 yuan per pill. The current price for the treatment is down by almost 78.5% compared to the price range set by China in December 2019. The price slashing from Bayer undermines some of the generic drug makers in the country based on the initial results published by the program’s authority.

Meanwhile, Bayer hasn’t given any comment yet.

According to the authority overseeing China’s program in a statement released with the initial bidding result on Friday, the products that won the bids during that round has seen a massive drop in prices, which crushed out the unfair overpricing of such drugs for a long time now.

The statement from the program’s authority has also stated that the sale prices of more than 100 commonly used medicines have about 17 to 18 times more than their manufacturing costs, on average.

On Friday, according to results, most of the bidding for the 33 drugs was won by Chinese copycats, including the generic versions of drugs from Cialis, an erectile dysfunction treatment by Eli Lilly’s to Zytiga, which is the prostate cancer treatment by Johnson & Johnson.

Based on the official data released by the government December, the products included in Friday’s bidding, which has two winners, will share the 60% volume of the procurement program. For drugs with four or more winners, up to 80% of the procurement volume can be shared among the winning pharmaceutical companies.

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