Starting June 1, China will lift regulatory controls and let market set prices on most drugs

BEIJING, China – Chinese regulators will lift price controls on most medical drugs starting June 1 in hopes that a more market-driven pricing system will keep medical costs in check, the National Development and Reform Commission announced Tuesday.

The country’s most powerful regulating agency said on its official website it would abandon the decades-long practice of price controls, except for narcotics and some psychiatric drugs, as part of drug price reform.

The commission said it will leave the setting of drug prices to market competition while shifting to a role of supervising market behaviour.

China has vowed to ease government controls in favour of market competition.

Chinese consumers have long complained of high drug costs. Authorities have in the last couple of years cracked down on rampant bribery by pharmaceutical companies which had inflated drug prices.