On Dec 10, 2020, National Healthcare Security Administration (NHSA) replied that among more than 50 orphan drugs currently on the market with indications, more than 40 drugs of them have been included in the National Reimbursement Drug List (NRDL).
China has published five versions of the NRDL so far, increasing the number of medicines from 1,535 to 2,709. In 2019, orphan drugs for Primary Carnitine Deficiency (PCD), Young Onset Parkinson’s disease (YOPD), etc. are added into NRDL directly. At the same time, through drug price negotiations, NHSA has largely lowered prices of orphan drugs for Pulmonary Hypertension (PHTN) and Niemann-Pick disease type C (NPC) and so on, and then included them in the NRDL. Among these orphan drugs, the price for Ambrisentan Tablets which are used for Pulmonary Hypertension (PHTN) dropped from ¥115.97 to ¥20 per tablet. The next step for NHSA is to include more orphan drugs in the NRDL by volume-based centralized procurement procedure.
However, those orphan drugs that are highly expensive cannot be included in the coverage of basic medical insurance, due to the high prices which far exceed the medical insurance and affordability of patients.