, Volume 23, Issue 5-6, pp 279-282
Date: 23 Aug 2012

Pharmacoeconomics in Healthcare Decision Making in China

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The use of pharmacoeconomic analyses has grown dramatically in the past decade as the cost of healthcare throughout the industrialized world has required increased scrutiny of health outcomes. Pharmacoeconomic analysis, however, has not been fully utilized in public health policy decision making in China. China is currently using a hybrid approach to regulate the healthcare market as the country moves from a planned to a market economy. There are problems in China’s current healthcare system, such as the high price and low quality of drugs, as well as inappropriate prescribing by healthcare professionals. Pharmacoeconomics is a useful tool to evaluate the cost effectiveness of drugs that can help solve some of these problems, for example through the application of a national Essential Medicines List, hospital formularies and clinical guidelines. Pharmacoeconomic methodologies have already been discussed by experts in China; however, in practice, these have not yet been used to guide decision making. Many obstacles exist. Importantly, there are only a small number of experts in the field and there are no standardized teaching materials or training courses for pharmacoeconomics in the country. In spite of these barriers, the Chinese government is actively promoting the utilization of pharmacoeconomic evaluation because of limited health resources relative to the huge healthcare market. Therefore, there exists a possibility for pharmacoeconomics to assist in rational decision making in the healthcare sector in China.