On November 30th, China’s MoHRSS (Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security) released the 2009 version of the National Drug Reimbursement List, which includes 260 new drugs, bringing it to a total of 2151 products. In the new list, all 307 members of the Essential Drug List are automatically included in the A class, which confers the highest levels of insurance reimbursement on these basic drugs. It was the first update of the Reimbursement List since 2004.
In the new Reimbursement List, there are 1164 western drugs: 349 in class A, 791 in class B, another 20 drugs covered only by work-related injury insurance, and four drugs covered only by maternity insurance. There are 987 TCM drugs; 154 are in class A, while 833 are in class B.
New regulations limit the amount of money to be spent on drugs that are subject to abuse.
The new List has four major features that are different from the 2004 version of the List:
1. All therapeutic drugs in the National Basic Drug List are placed in the A class, providing the highest level of reimbursement for these basic medications. Insurance participants don’t need to pay for A class drugs, and local governments are prohibited from changing the prices on A class medications;
2. 260 drugs were added to the list, an increase of 13.7%. The number of class A drugs rose by 53, a jump of 11.8%;
3. Infrequently used drugs or those that have been replaced by better equivalents were replaced;
4. Local governments can construct a point-of use drug reporting system, which also has a method for getting permission to use drugs that are outside of the List, but are used for clinical emergencies and special diseases.
The A class section of the new list went into effect on December 1. Local governments will be allowed to adjust the level of reimbursement for B class drugs, though they must release their lists no later than March 2010.