SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China's new medical insurance regulator will begin negotiations with domestic and overseas pharmaceutical companies to lower prices of cancer drugs in a bid to cut the financial burden on patients, state news agency Xinhua said on Saturday.
The State Medical Insurance Administration said it was preparing to include more cancer drugs on its list of medicines eligible for reimbursement, and said 10 foreign and eight domestic pharmaceutical companies had expressed a willingness to work with the authority.
China's cancer rates have been soaring, driven by growing numbers of over-60s, heavy smoking among men and exposure to pollution. The National Cancer Center said last year there were 4.29 million new cases every year and 2.81 million deaths.
Delegates to parliament said in May that the five-year cancer survival rate stood at just 30 percent in 2015, less than half the U.S. level, and the government has vowed to improve that by 15 percentage points by 2030.
(Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Robert Birsel)
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