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Monday, April 16, 2018, 12:04
Drugs made overseas to be tax-free
By Yang Wanli
Monday, April 16, 2018, 12:04 By Yang Wanli

A medicine retailer arranges medicines at a pharmacy in Meishan, Southwest China's Sichuan province, March 28, 2011. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

This month, the central government issued a notice encouraging the development and production of generic drugs that are in short supply.

A generic drug is a medication that has the same active ingredients as a brand-name patented drug and yields the same medicinal effects, but it can be marketed only after the patent has expired.

Generic drugs are less expensive because their manufacturers don't have to duplicate the original clinical trials for effectiveness and safety, which lowers the cost of bringing the drug to market

Yu Li

expert at the Beijing Institute for Drug Control

"Generic drugs are less expensive because their manufacturers don't have to duplicate the original clinical trials for effectiveness and safety, which lowers the cost of bringing the drug to market," said Yu Li, an expert at the Beijing Institute for Drug Control.

About 95 percent of the nearly 170,000 drug production projects approved in China were for generic medicines, according to the National Health Commission.

The notice said government departments will draft a list of generic drugs that are in demand and will support their production with policies such as preferential tax rates for pharmaceutical companies.

To speed up the evaluation process, a testing system will be set up through several departments, including the nation's top health, drug and science authorities, the notice said. It also emphasized that the quality of generic drug production should be enhanced.

Competition between drugmakers was once unregulated, and the quality of products could vary and even be unsatisfactory, Xinhua News Agency recently quoted an unnamed official from the National Health Commission as saying.

China is home to more than 4,000 pharmaceutical companies that produce generic drugs, according to the China Food and Drug Administration, which is now part of the newly created State Market Regulatory Administration.

The notice stressed that strengthening safeguards for intellectual property related to drug innovation and production will be a priority, with the interests of patent holders balanced with the public's needs.

Infringing patents will be prohibited, it said. However, the government notice said that in the event of a serious epidemic or public health emergency that threatens lives, compulsory licensing and production of patented drugs will be initiated to allow generic copies onto the market as soon as possible.

yangwanli@chinadaily.com.cn



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