China takes aim at soaring prices of key hospital supplies

Determined to reduce prices of syringes, needles, sutures, staples, packaging, tubing, catheters, medical gloves, and other heavily used medical consumables, Chinese authorities in July unveiled a series of new cost-containment measures.

The moves include a pilot program that would permit groups of public hospitals to purchase selected supplies in bulk, more vigilant monitoring of price manipulation efforts nationwide, and fines and legal action against hospitals and medical professionals found to be selling medical consumables to patients for profit.

In addition, the National Healthcare Security Administration (NHSA) will step in to negotiate prices and reimbursement standards for medical consumables covered by Chinese medical insurance.

And with the goal of constructing a traceable and transparent system for regulated devices from the beginning to the end of the supply chain, China is launching its Unique Device Identification (UDI) system for use with all high-value consumables by the end of 2020.