(Yicai Global) Dec. 5 -- China's latest list of medicines covered by national medical insurance includes several new drugs that were exhibited by foreign pharmaceutical firms at the China International Import Expo held this year and last.
Global multinationals Johnson & Johnson, Novartis, Bayer, AstraZeneca and Eli Lilly all featured on the National Reimbursement Drug List released last month. Many of these firms have already signed up to participate in the third expo next year in anticipation of the many opportunities it offers to promote their products.
Tyvyt (sintilimab injection), an innovative PD-1 inhibitor that can help in the treatment of cancers, was included. Co-developed by Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Suzhou-based Innovent Biologics, it was approved by the National Medical Products Administration of China last December and presented at this year's CIIE.
Eli Lilly got approval last year relatively quickly and will launch on the market in February, said Julio Gay-Ger, president and general manager of Eli Lilly China. The medicine can help patients with Hodgkin's lymphoma, and it would be good to benefit from this reimbursement state policy.
AstraZeneca debuted its new drug Roxadustat at the first CIIE last year. A treatment for anemia caused by chronic kidney disease, it also made the list. China was the first country to approve the drug last December and it hit the shelves earlier this year.
The Cambridge-based firm's Lynparza tablets, a poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor for ovarian or breast cancer, and Dapagliflozin, a treatment for type 2 diabetes in adults, were also included.
New Jersey-based Johnson & Johnson's local units Xi'an Janssen Pharmaceutical and Shanghai-headquartered Actelion had seven drugs on the list, four of which treat rare diseases.
Two of Basel-based Novartis' seven medicines in the catalogue were renewals and five were new. Ultibro breezhaler, which treats chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, came onto the Chinese market in March.
Paris-based Sanofi's teriflunomide, which treats relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis, and lixisenatide, which helps in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, also made the list.
The NRDL names all the drugs covered by China's insurance program. Some are fully reimbursable and some partially. For drugs not listed, patients must pay full price. Inclusion on the list offers access to the country's vast health care market but also requires huge price reductions, sometimes of up to 80 percent.