China should accelerate its drug review and approval process and update the government reimbursement drug lists, to benefit patients, said Kenneth Frazier, chairman of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, during a recent visit to Beijing.
China has seen improvement in its healthcare system, in terms of medical insurance, efficiency and patient access to medicines. But in order to build a patient-centered healthcare system, there are a few more steps needed, Frazier said at a media roundtable after meeting Chinese policymakers and industry leaders.
"China should take a holistic approach to ensure sufficient and sustained healthcare investment, a well-designed government pricing and reimbursement system and patient access to high-quality, safe and effective medicines," he said.
While China has implemented reforms to accelerate the review and approval of new medicines, there are still some problems like government reimbursement, he said. "Once a new drug is approved in China, patients face uncertainty about whether and when they will receive access through national reimbursement. The National Reimbursement Drug List has not been updated since 2009," Frazier said.
He suggested that China makes revisions to the Drug Administration Law and Drug Registration Regulation to create a better regulatory framework.
"We recommend an accelerated update to the national and provincial reimbursement drug lists, followed by the establishment of a transparent and predictable rolling reimbursement review."
PhRMA is a trade organization that represents the US' top biopharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies.
The companies invested $51 billion in research and development of innovative treatments and cures last year, and 51 new therapies were approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.