Amid new drug negotiations, China puts price-management vet in charge of CFDA

Bi Jingquan

SINGAPORE--A change in leadership at the China Drug and Food Administration was announced on the Communist Party website last week: Bi Jingquan, who has more than 20 years of experience in pricing and management, will take over from Zhang Yong as CFDA minister.

In announcing the change, officials focused on Bi's frontline experience in price management and economics. Industry insiders think Bi's appointment may help with a new round of drug pricing adjustments, and strengthen communications and links between the CFDA and the National Development and Reform Commission.

Others speculate the leadership change is aimed at speeding up new drug approvals and fixing continuous problems that have been popping up in the medical and pharmaceutical fields.

After completing a degree in economics at Peking University, Bi started working at the National Development and Reform Commission, formerly the State Price Bureau and the State Planning Commission. In 2001, he became the director of the trade circulation department at the State Planning Commission.

In 2007, as the deputy director and a party member of the National Development and Reform Commission, Bi stressed the importance of restructuring the pricing of drugs in order to address the request to make medical services very affordable from the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.

Bi will be 60 years old in September, the same age that former CFDA Minister Zhang Yong was when appointed in 2013.

- read the Xinhuanet report (in Chinese)
- and the Communist Part of China statement (in Chinese)

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