China will inject more funds and let the market play a bigger role in reforming its medical sector, concluded an executive meeting of the State Council on Tuesday.
The country will work to establish a universal medical insurance system, speed up reform in public hospitals, and relax market entry requirements for the private sector to build health institutions in an orderly manner, according to a statement issued after the meeting, presided over by Premier Li Keqiang.
The State Council has vowed to improve its essential medicines system and regulate the circulation of medicine by cracking down on criminal offences and disciplinary violations and controlling the price of drugs.
Essential medicines refer to those which satisfy healthcare needs and which must be made available to the public at all times in adequate amounts and in appropriate dosage forms, at a price the public can afford.
It was decided at the meeting, a national database will be set up to facilitate the reimbursement of medical costs for patients across different regions, and a public hospital reform program will be expanded to cover more than half of county-level hospitals.
The scale of public hospitals, which provide 90 percent of China's medical services, will be controlled and medical resources will be optimized, according to the meeting.
Non-public hospitals and public hospitals will be treated equally in terms of access to medical insurance programs and other qualifications.
The State Council has also announced that it will raise the percentage of shares that foreigners may own in medical joint ventures and improve welfare for rural doctors.