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Gov't to use US$240m on medical equipment
Updated: 2004-08-10 00:28

More than 400 Chinese and overseas businesses gathered in Beijing Monday to compete for a share of a procurement bill worth more than 2 billion yuan (US$240 million) -- the amount the Chinese Government has allocated to buy medical equipment this year.

Nine expert teams organized by the Ministry of Health will evaluate the equipment, according to Vice-Minister of Health Huang Jiefu, at the opening ceremony of the 13th China International Medical Equipment and Facilities Exposition and Symposia at Beijing Exhibition Hall.

The Ministry of Health announced earlier that the central government would spend 1.5 billion yuan (US$181 million) this year on ambulances, in-car equipment, and devices for testing and treating infectious diseases.

Another 573 million yuan (US$70 million) will be used to buy overalls for medical personnel, emergency rescue equipment, laboratory devices for provincial and municipal disease control centres, vehicles with special purposes and testing machines for AIDS and schistosomiasis -- commonly known as snail fever.

"With the continuous growth of China's economy and the public's increased attention to healthcare, China's potential healthcare market is huge and fast growing," said Aris Bruin, chief operation officer of Philips Medical Systems in China.

China has become the third-largest healthcare market in the world, behind the United States and Japan.

"In the next three years, the annual growth rate of China's healthcare market is expected to exceed 10 per cent," Bruin said.

In 2003, the Ministry of Health spent more than 800 million yuan (US$96.4 million) on purchasing medical equipment.

Sources with the ministry noted that items to be purchased this year will include computerized tomography (CT) machines, magnetic resonance imaging machines, X-ray machines, clinical devices, ambulances and PET-CT machines.

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