China says all county-level hospital drug sale markups end in October

China has moved quickly to further scrap a 15% markup on state-run hospital drug sales, this time targeting all county-level public hospitals by the end of October, China Daily reported, citing a top health authority.

The effort already underway was apparently made public on Aug. 6, and follows a first salvo in May that saw China's State Council scrap the 15% markup on drug sales in major hospitals nationwide as part of aims to transform drug cost and quality problems.

The council, China's cabinet, issued the directive on May 17, scrapping a profit-driven model for major public hospitals and said that will expand nationwide by 2017.

At the county-level hospitals, 3,297 institutions, or 78.3%, had also made the reforms by early August, China Daily said, citing Fu Wei, deputy chief for administrative reform at the National Health and Family Planning Commission. Fu added to China Daily that the reforms now also cover 764 major public hospitals and said 100 cities would be covered by the reforms by the end of the year.

China this year completed a comprehensive healthcare reform plan centered on the nation's public hospital system, including seeking more private hospitals and clinics and changes to the entire medical system on pay and subsidies.

The pharmaceutical industry in particular faces sharp sales and marketing adjustments as drug prices via tenders and other public reimbursements are to remain heavily scrutinized along with the entire system of production and distribution, China Daily said.

The 15% markup in particular has been a source of complaints by patients at public hospitals, China Daily said.

To compensate hospitals for the loss of revenue, fees for services provided by medical staff members will be increased, Fu told China Daily.

- here's the story from China Daily