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Health officials aim to shore up drug supply amid respiratory illness wave

By Wang Xiaoyu | | Updated: 2024-02-22 18:22
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As waves of respiratory diseases this winter have strained supplies of some medicines included in China's centralized procurement programs, the National Healthcare Security Administration said on Thursday that it has stepped up its monitoring of the country's drug supply and has admonished pharmaceutical companies who failed to deliver products.

China has experienced a circulation of various respiratory diseases of mycoplasma pneumonia, influenza and COVID-19 this winter, prompting some doctors to complain of shortages of the antibiotic Azithromycin and other imported drugs on the nation's bulk buy program.

Through the program initiated in 2018, drugmakers have slashed their prices to win bids to supply large amounts of medicine to public hospitals in China.

The administration said in a statement released on Thursday that it has intensified supervision of supplies of drugs in high demand, urged enterprises to fulfill their manufacturing and delivering responsibilities, and notified and issued warnings to drugmakers who failed to supply sufficient products.

"Medical institutions are encouraged to report supply issues. In the case of a supply shortfall, backup products and those off the list can be added as alternatives," the administration said.

It is also important for hospitals to place orders in advance and take seasonal factors into consideration, the administration said.

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