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Import tariffs on cancer drugs cut to zero

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China may be about to levy huge taxes on American imports like sorghum and soy, but this week, it removed all import tariffs on cancer drugs.

  • All types of cancer treatments, including chemotherapy drugs, alkaloid-based drugs, and imported traditional Chinese medicines used for cancer, will be exempted from import duties, according to Xinhua News Agency (in Chinese).
  • The average total out-of-pocket cost of cancer patients receiving diagnosis and treatment is currently between 140,000 yuan ($22,105) and 220,000 yuan ($34,737), according to a recent study cited by Xinhua. The tariff cut is expected to lower costs by about 20 percent.
  • “Patients with breast cancer and lymphoma are undoubtedly the most excited,” says Xinhua, as there are no suitable locally-produced drugs such as trastuzumab and rituximab.
  • In other cancer drug news, Caixin reports (paywall) that Innovent, a Suzhou-based biotech startup, has closed a new $150 million funding round, which it will use to “accelerate its clinical trial work” on biologically based anti-cancer drugs known as PD-1 inhibitors.

Also on SupChina:

‘Nobody talked about the disease’ — breast cancer in China

Opioid painkiller sales boom as lung cancer takes its toll – China’s latest business and technology news

Why is breast cancer spiking in China? – China’s latest top news

Jeremy Goldkorn

Jeremy Goldkorn worked in China for 20 years as an editor and entrepreneur. He is editor-in-chief of SupChina, and co-founder of the Sinica Podcast.