Lower Pharmaceutical Prices Newest Medical Tourism Draw on China’s Hainan Island

Hainan Island, popular with Chinese patients for the access it provides to medical devices, global diagnostics and treatments not legally available on the mainland, is now offering an even brighter allure: sharply lower drug prices.

A new procurement and bidding system unveiled by healthcare security authorities on the island province off the southernmost part of China has allowed them to purchase pharmaceuticals in bulk at prices significantly lower than before. The average 30% price cuts affect more than 600 drugs, including sharp reductions on some cancer drugs.

The price reductions are part of a set of health care policies in Hainan that allow authorities there to approve medical treatments still awaiting approval on the mainland. The policies are often seen as a bellwether for the adoption of similar policies in the rest of China.