January 9, 2013
A statement on the website of China's National Development and Reform Commission outlines national cuts to the prices of hundreds of drugs, including products from Merck (NYSE: MRK ) and Pfizer (NYSE: PFE ) , among other companies. China will slash maximum retail prices by an average of 15% for more than 400 drugs as the country continues to try to rein in pharmaceutical prices.
This round of price cutting, the fourth such measure since 2011, will impact products like Pfizer's Zyvox and Merck's Singulair, among others. The move comes after recent comments from Chinese Health Minister Chen Zu, who claimed that health care in the world's second-largest economy is too expensive.
Price cuts are only one part of a nationwide move by China's government to curb health care costs. With an aging, developing population, the government has gone to lengths such as expanding China's national insurance program and requiring Chinese hospitals to pull in certain percentages of sales from cheaper medications.