China Moves to Tighten Management, Use of Cancer Pharmaceuticals by Medical Institutions and Practitioners

Continuing to strengthen China’s oversight of the manufacture, import, and distribution of pharmaceuticals, the country’s health regulators in May published a series of measures medical institutions will be required to follow in prescribing and utilizing drugs to treat cancer.

The measures released by the National Health Commission (NHC) are designed to systematize the use of cancer-treating drugs. Many of the drugs, while of increasing efficacy when administered in a targeted way, can cause serious adverse reactions if misuse. They can bring on toxic side effects and require the monitoring and management of experienced healthcare professionals.

Medical institutions will be required to formulate lists of cancer drugs they are most likely to need, and submit them to the NHC for approval. They will also be required to submit indications to the NHC of how often and in what proportions the drugs are used, the reactions of patients, and the rate of diagnosis and testing among their cancer patient population. The data will be used to improve the distribution and management of this class of pharmaceuticals throughout the country.