China’s State Council Approves Ministry of Health Reorganization Plan

On September 1, 2008, China’s State Council approved the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) plans for reorganization. In line with the State Council’s earlier announcement in March 2008 that the currently independent State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) would fall under the management of the MOH, the MOH is now restructuring and modifying its responsibilities.

Some responsibilities, including some related to food and cosmetic safety, will be transferred from the MOH to the SFDA. Others, such as the identification of toxic chemicals and technical assessment of radioactive products will move to non-government agencies.

In addition to promoting general public health and well-being, the MOH will become responsible for supervising medical device and drug regulations and establishing a national system of essential drugs. Other responsibilities include monitoring medical institutions and increasing research and development in China.

The revamped MOH will have fifteen sectors. The Medical Services Supervisory Division will monitor medical institutions to ensure their safety and quality. The Pharmaceutical Policy and Essential Drugs System Division will be responsible for establishing and organizing a national essential drugs list. In addition, this Division will also be responsible for setting up regulations on the supply, delivery, and use of these products along with basic drug pricing policies. Other divisions include the Science and Technology Education Department which will promote research and development.

The reorganized MOH will have 387 personnel consisting of one minister, four deputy ministers, and 63 division heads.