“The VAT reduction policy strongly indicates the government’s determination to improve the problems associated with rare diseases,” Kevin Huang, founder and president of the Chinese Organization for Rare Disorders (CORD) told the Global Times.
CORD, a non-governmental organization, is committed to promoting cooperation between rare diseases patients, medical professionals, pharmaceutical companies and government departments. It also works on strengthening public understanding of rare diseases, improving access to medication to treat rare diseases and promoting policies.
Huang said the policy will surely attract more attention to rare diseases, and he expects more policies to be introduced following these initial steps.
On February 15, the National Health Commission (NHC) announced the establishment of a national cooperation network for the diagnosis and treatment of rare diseases to improve the diagnosis, treatment and management of rare diseases.
Led by the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, 324 hospitals nationwide which specialize in rare diseases will be involved in the network.
“Orphan drugs should be given priority for examination and approval, and effective drugs should be recommended for sale both in China and overseas simultaneously,” Jiao Hong, head of the National Medical Products Administration told China Youth Online on March 7.
“The market price of drugs depends on the selling price of pharmaceutical enterprises, import tariffs and the profits of drug distributors. The VAT reduction policy actually benefits pharmaceutical enterprises directly. At present, it is hard to say how much cheaper it will be for patients,” Huang said.