National Drug Reimbursement List
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Biopharmas continue to offer hefty discounts to secure national reimbursement in China


The latest NRDL news in China

Biopharma companies are continuing to offer significant discounts on their products in China, in the hopes that they can score spots on the country’s National Reimbursement Drug List (NRDL). Companies are betting on wider coverage in a fast-growing market to offset the price concessions required to achieve a listing.  

China’s National Healthcare Security Administration reported last Wednesday that 111 innovative medicines were able to gain national reimbursement by offering an average of 60.1% discount and saw a new focus on rare diseases. This was one of the largest drug price negotiations in China in recent years and included products from AbbVie, Bristol Myers Squibb, Biogen and Novartis. However, one notable admission was Pfizer’s COVID-19 oral antiviral, Paxlovid. But one of the largest discounts was offered by Roche on its Spinraza rival, Evrysdi, where the price reached in the deal was 94% lower than the price tag when it entered the Chinese market last year. 

Domestic drug makers have also taken a similar approach, with Genuine cutting azvudine’s price by 35.3% and due to its secondary use as a COVID-19 treatment it may see widespread use during the current wave sweeping across the country.  

One area where this hasn’t taken place though is in the PD-1/L1 cancer immunotherapy battle between big pharma. Even though they were eligible Merck & Co., Bristol Myers Squibb, Roche and AstraZeneca didn’t engage in price talks and have, on the face of it, become comfortable with their market positions.

FACT: What is the NRDL?

There are three main routes to market in China: private healthcare, out-of-pocket/patient assistance schemes and public reimbursement.

Inclusion on the NRDL means that products will be fully or partially reimbursed at a national level and in general are the only products to be prescribed from public hospitals.

For more NRDL news, read our other articles.


  1. With big discounts, 100+ drugs win national coverage in China ( 
  1. China’s latest NRDL update continues to exclude foreign PD-1 inhibitors, favours rare disease drugs – Pharmaceutical Technology ( 

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