China launched a nationwide inspection recently, aiming at dealing with illegal price increases of medicines and medical services, amid a flurry of public complaints about soaring costs and limited access to drugs and healthcare.
An official from China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said Monday the price of medicines would be the focus of the inspection.
The inspection, launched on Sunday, was directed at a wide range of sectors including pharmacies, hospitals, blood stations and other institutions, according to the official,
Some medicine manufacturers ratchet up prices after altering product names and packaging and some hospitals and clinics raise the costs of medical services, turning a blind eye to standards set by the government.
Illegal activities such as these, which are highly detrimental to patients, will be the main targets of the inspection, said the official.
To make things easier for patients, 17 waves of price reduction have been approved by the Chinese government for medicines that are widely used in clinical treatment. But medicine and medical services are still too costly for some citizens.
In a circular released by the NDRC, all medical institutions were urged to set up a timely price reporting system, and to inform patients before carrying out costly treatments, to make pricing more transparent.
The NDRC has pledged to cooperate with the discipline watchdog to bring any cases of commercial bribery discovered during the inspection to the attention of judicial authorities.