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On December 13, the National Healthcare Security Administration of the People's Republic of China announced that it has updated the catalog of drugs covered by the national medical insurance in 2023, with a total of 126 new drugs included in the catalog, indicating an average reduction in prices of 61.7 percent. It is expected to reduce out-of-pocket expenses for patients by over CNY 40 billion in the next two years. The updated catalog now contains 3,088 drugs.

Among the 126 new drugs added to the 2023 catalog, 21 are for the treatment of cancer, 17 are for COVID-19 and infectious diseases, 15 are for chronic diseases such as diabetes, psychosis, and rheumatic and immune-related diseases, and 15 are for rare diseases, with the remaining 59 targeted at other kinds of illness. At the same time, one drug to leave the market has been removed from the catalog. After the adjustment, the total number of drugs in the catalog will increase to 3,088, including 1,698 of Western medicine and 1,390 of Chinese patent medicine, thus further guaranteeing the availability of medication for chronic and rare diseases and those specifically affecting children.

It has been reported that negotiations were successfully concluded for the provision of 15 off-catalog drugs at lower prices, which are used in the treatment of 16 rare diseases. These achievements have filled the existing gaps for ten diseases. In particular, drugs for the treatment of rare diseases with significant social impact such as Gaucher disease and myasthenia gravis, long unattended, have been included in the catalog with wide-reaching social benefits anticipated.

(Source: Beijing Evening News)