China releases timeline, priority diseases for revised reimbursement list

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China’s National Medical Insurance Administration released its plan for issuing a revised National Drug Reimbursement List Wednesday, describing which types of drugs will have priority for inclusion and sketching out a timeline for a revision process that will run through August.

While the revision will include both drugs and traditional Chinese medicines approved before January, priority will be given to drugs from the national essential drug list; drugs for major diseases such as cancer; therapies for rare, chronic and pediatric disease; and emergency use drugs.

Exclusive or patented high-price drugs would require price negotiation to be included in the revision, while drugs with comparable price and similar safety and efficacy to current NDRL-listed drugs would not.

The administration will complete draft guidelines and select reviewers this month, with drugs then reviewed through May. The preliminary revised NDRL will be released in June and include a list of drugs designated for price negotiation. Negotiation to set the reimbursement price will be completed in July, with the final list of successfully negotiated drugs released in August.

Public comments on the plan are due March 26.

China last updated its NDRL in February 2017 (See “China Finally Releases Updated NRDL”).

Morgan Stanley’s Yolanda Hu believes innovative drugs could benefit from the revision, with possible inclusion of drugs from 3SBio Inc. (HKSE:1530), CSPC Pharmaceutical Group Ltd. (HKSE:1093), Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine Co. Ltd. (Shanghai:3600276) and Innovent Biologics Inc. (HKSE:1801), as well as PD-1 inhibitors from domestic and multinational pharmaceutical companies.

Citi’s John Yung said in a note that drugs such as CSPC’s cancer drug Duomeisu doxorubicin, 3SBio diabetes drug Bydureon exenatide and cancer drug pyrotinib from Hengrui could be included, and added that Sino Biopharmaceutical Ltd. (HKSE:1177) is also likely to benefit through inclusion of its cancer drug Saiweijian raltitrexed.

Innovent gained HK$0.80 to HK$27.70 on Wednesday, while 3SBio gained HK$0.04 to HK$14.60 and Hengrui gained RMB0.07 to RMB69.88. CSPC fell HK$0.32 to HK$13.32.