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China to Tighten Drug Pricing

China's top economic planning body issued a regulation on tightening drug pricing on Sunday.

The regulation, which will take effect as of March 1, requires five-step procedures before fixing medicine prices, including production cost investigation, expert evaluation and hearing opinions from the public, the National Development and Reform Commission announced here on Sunday.

The new rules forbid drug price regulators from taking gifts of any forms or receiving invitations for banquets and traveling abroad from drug manufacturers.

To stem rising public complaints about high medical costs, China has slashed drug price on 19 occasions in the 1997-2006 period, totaling 40 billion yuan (US$5 billion).

(Xinhua News Agency February 26, 2007)

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