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China announces 21 pct price cut on 162 medicines

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BEIJING, March 7 (Xinhua) -- China will lower the retail price ceiling of 162 kinds of medicines by an average 21 percent from March 28, in a move to ease patients' financial burden, China's top economic planner and price regulator announced Monday.

The price change mainly covers antibiotics and medicines that improve circulation, which are largely used in infection and cardiovascular disease treatment, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said in a statement.

The move is expected to save the Chinese consumers nearly 10 billion yuan (about 1.52 billion U.S. dollars) each year, the statement posted on the NDRC website said.

The NDRC said the adjustment while within its normal mandate of controlling drug prices, is also part of China's reform of the health-care system.

The NDRC also promised to continue efforts to drop the price of other kinds of medicines, whose price ceilings are determined by the government, based on production cost and the condition of market supply and demand.

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