The National Healthcare Security Administration said on Wednesday that it will "unswervingly" roll out more bulk procurement programs for drugs and medical consumables this year.
The eighth round of the centralized drug procurement program will be launched this year, the administration said in a notice.
"By the end of this year, each provincial-level region should have at least 450 types of drugs that have been involved in regional or national procurement programs, including 130 types involved in regional programs," the administration said.
The types should cover chemical drugs, traditional Chinese medicine drugs and biological drugs, it added.
In addition, the NHSA will expand the bulk buying of medical consumables, with a focus on products used for cardiology and orthopedics.
It will guide more provinces to launch bulk buy initiatives for consumables used for general surgery such as staplers and ultrasonic knives, as well as explore ways to procure in vitro diagnostic test kits.
The administration will also continue to govern the pricing of dental implants, it said.
Since the NHSA was established in 2018, it has launched seven rounds of centralized bulk buying for drugs, leading to an average price cut of 50 percent for 294 medications as well as three rounds of bulk buying for medical consumables that has resulted in a price cut of over 80 percent.
The bulk buying mechanism at the national and regional levels has so far saved patients more than 400 billion yuan ($58.2 billion).