China Initiates Centralized Purchasing for High-Value Devices

High-value medical products like catheters, stents, pacemakers and bone implant devices will soon be subject to centralized purchasing in China. Under the Regulation on Centralized Procurement of High-Value Consumable Medical Supplies issued by China’s Ministry of Health (MOH), all public institutions and state-owned enterprises will be required to participate in the new system. The regulations were issued in December 2012 and are slowly being implemented.

According to the regulations, purchasing high value medical devices will be conducted by the same local agencies that currently handle pharmaceuticals procurement. Public hospitals must submit their purchasing plans to these agencies in order to obtain approval. The bidding process will use the current online bidding platform and it will take place at minimum of once every two years. Private institutions are also encouraged to participate in the centralized purchasing process.

The regulations also set out penalties for manufacturers and distributors caught engaging in misconduct during the bidding process. If they increase prices without authorization, engage in bad faith bidding or conduct commercial bribery, they may be barred from the centralized purchasing process for two years.