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© 2021 MJH Life Sciences and Pharmaceutical Executive. All rights reserved.
© 2021 MJH Life Sciences™ and Pharmaceutical Executive. All rights reserved.
The 2021 National Reimbursement Drug List (NRDL) process has been unfolding in China since June this year, with several key themes emerging. Building on Simon-Kucher’s experience with the NRDL, the authors make three recommendations on negotiation strategies going into the process.
The National Reimbursement Drug List (NRDL) is the major mechanism for public reimbursement in China, covering 98 percent of the entire population. Its formulary has been updated on a yearly basis since 2017, currently standing at 2,800 inclusions, compared to 2,588 in 2017.
Most innovative drugs would strive to be included in the NRDL for the 70-80 percent coverage it affords. This has long been considered the primary driver for pursuing the listing. At the same time, NRDL inclusions typically come with significant price cuts, which, on average, stood at 61 percent in 2019, and 51 percent in 2020.
The 2021 NRDL has been unfolding with three key themes emerging: increasing transparency, ongoing emphasis on innovations, and more openness for high-priced therapies.
Ongoing emphasis on innovations
More openness for high-priced therapies
As the 2021 NRDL cruises into the final stage of price negotiations, we have developed three recommendations tailored to new launches, high-priced therapies, and renewals, respectively.
1. Fast NRDL inclusion is key for new launches
2. Alternative access is important for high-priced therapies
3. Emphasis on value over price for NRDL renewals:
The NRDL will continue to shape China’s pharma and healthcare industry going forward. The 2021 process has been unfolding with new themes and implications, and we expect to see some breakthroughs for fast inclusions and high-priced therapies this year. Pharmaceutical companies would need to closely follow the latest NRDL trends, plan for different scenarios, and tailor their strategies accordingly to maximize NRDL opportunities for their portfolios.
About the authors
Bruce Liu leads Simon-Kucher’s Life Sciences division in Greater China. Shiyi He is a consultant with extensive experience in health economics and payer strategies in China. Ivy Jiang is a consultant with years of experience in China pharmaceutical pricing and access strategies. Duo Xu is a consultant specialized in China pharma and healthcare industry with recent experience on NRDL renewals. Selene Peng is a consultant with experience across diverse therapeutic areas, and recent experience on NRDL trends and outlook.