12:27 PM
 | 
Apr 16, 2018
 |  BC Extra  |  Politics & Policy

China to exempt cancer drugs from tariffs, at a potential cost to industry

The China State Council announced April 12 that the country will exempt all cancer drugs from import tariffs, beginning on May 1. The imported cancer drugs and other "innovative drugs" will be incorporated into the China's National Reimbursement Drug List, which may mean manufacturers will have to agree to steep discounts to get their drugs into the Chinese market.

In July, China's Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MoHRSS) negotiated discounts for 36 high-cost, high-value drugs and added them to its NRDL. The average negotiated price cut for those 36 drugs, which ranged across multiple therapeutic areas, was 45%, according to a report presented by McKinsey & Co. at the BioCentury China Healthcare Summit in Shanghai in November. Cancer drugs took the steepest haircuts in the negotiations, with Roche (SIX:ROG; OTCQX:RHHBY) agreeing to 70% discounts for its cancer drugs Herceptin trastuzumab and Tarceva erlotinib (see BioCentury Extra, July 19).

The State Council's statement also promises to accelerate the importation of innovative drugs and get them to market earlier.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang had announced in March that the country was committed to "open up" its market and lower tariffs (see BioCentury Extra, March 21).

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