Will op-ed in China state press bring pharma reform?

Is China's government set to make changes in its laws and regulations governing the pharmaceutical industry? An op-ed piece by one of the government's leading health-reform advisers suggests that may be the case.

Zhiwu Zack Fang

Writing in the China Daily, Zhiwu Zack Fang, a member of the State Council's Health Reform Expert Advisory Committee, said the industry was a "a showcase for legislation whose execution has failed."

The article's timing is noteworthy as it comes in the middle of the annual National People's Council legislative meeting that helps set broad governance agendas for the Middle Kingdom.

At the end of a long column titled, "Healthcare's for-profit non-profit balancing act," Fang said "massive uncertainty and fast-changing regulations" have hurt the industry badly, leading to a reluctance by drugmakers to invest in quality and innovation.

Earlier in the opinion piece, he wrote of comprehensive legislation needed in other healthcare sectors, such as the nation's hospital system. Fang was involved in the recent designs to reform the hospital evaluation system.

He noted that pharma was the only healthcare sector "that is mainly privatized and commercialized."

Fang concluded by talking about legislation covering several healthcare sectors by well-organizing the flow of "people, goods, data and money." He said, "Legislation covering reforms based on these four flows will cover the core processes."

The opinion piece offered no details, but in his role on a government cabinet's advisory committee, he has led several national health-reform studies, including hospital performance evaluation systems, pharmaceutical distribution and pharmacy benefit management.

A U.S.-education physician, he also once served as vice president of international business development for Express Scripts ($ESRX).

- here the op-ed from China Daily