A centralized procurement system launched by the Chinese government will make critically needed coronary stents available directly to Chinese consumers for a fraction of their current price, officials announced in November.
The average price of coronary stents for patients in China is expected to plummet by about 90%, when the government begins buying just over one million stents per year. Authorities successfully brought the price on the critically needed medical devices down through a competitive bidding process, which pitted U.S. and Chinese companies against each other, and through the purchases of the stents in huge quantities. That allowed manufacturers to lower the per-unit prices of the devices.
Manufactured of stainless steel or cobalt alloy, fashioned into tubes just millimeters in diameter, stents are essential in treating coronary artery disease. Incidence of the disease has been on the rise in China in recent years, the result of an aging population and dietary changes.