Basic health insurance plans in China will begin this year to cover the cost of most drugs used to treat rare diseases, according to a National Healthcare Security Administration statement released in December.
Under the plan, rare disease drugs that are proven effective and that are not priced exorbitantly will be subject to review by experts. Those that pass the review will be eligible for reimbursement coverage by China’s Basic Medical Insurance (BMI) and other insurance plans.
The announcement is the latest move by Chinese authorities to prioritize the treatments of rare diseases and help patients offset the cost of pharmaceuticals used to treat them. While millions of Chinese suffer from diseases considered rare, the country still lacks doctors experienced in diagnosing these conditions. Diseases are deemed rare if they affect a small number of people compared to the general population.