Pfizer’s Paxlovid Excluded From China’s National Insurance Program
In a statement released on Sunday, the National Healthcare Security Administration (NHS) of China announced that they will not be including Pfizer’s COVID-19 treatment drug Paxlovid on their national reimbursement list. This means that the drug will not be covered by the country’s insurance scheme and lessens the chance of Chinese patients getting the expensive treatment at a discounted price.
Although the Chinese government has blocked the import of non-Chinese-made vaccines such as the Pfizer mRNA shot, the country nevertheless approved the company’s COVID-19 drug for import in February 2022. As a result, the drug has been a highly sought-after treatment, with people even desperate to buy generic Indian versions of the drug online.
The NHS also announced that they had included two other treatments on their reimbursement list – the antiviral drug Azvudine and the herbal blend Qingfei Paidu Granules, both of which can be used to prevent more severe cases of COVID-19.
The country is currently facing a major wave of coronavirus infections, with lockdown measures beginning to be relaxed in major cities such as Beijing and Chengdu. In a recent development, Sunday was the first day in almost three years that visitors no longer needed to quarantine when traveling to China.