China / View

DIY medicines symptom of serious issues

(China Daily) Updated: 2017-01-13 08:01

AFTER DOCTORS GAVE UP treating his mother, Ao Ning, 25, from Northeast China's Liaoning province, decided to try and cure her cancer with medicines he made himself. Beijing Youth Daily commented on Thursday:

It is a touching story of filial piety. But even though Ao had some success, it was more by accident than design. Ao admitted he wouldn't recommend others do the same unless they had no other option.

Self-made medicines also face legal risks, as they break the law. According the current laws, all non-prescribed raw materials for medicines are taken to be counterfeit medicine, which is illegal. But do-it-yourself treatments are the only option for some given the cost of drugs, especially some foreign drugs, which are unaffordable for most Chinese patients and which the general health insurance does not cover.

The fundamental problem is the severe lack of research and development investment in pharmaceuticals in China. According to official statistics, most of domestic pharmaceutical companies across the country have problems with independent R&D. Even some of the top 10 domestic medical companies invest only 1 percent of their sales volume in R&D.

Another problem is the time it takes for new medicines to gain approval in China. While it takes about 20 months to approve a new type of medicine in some Western countries, in China it usually takes five to 10 years to get approval.

Hot Topics