Chinese Premiere Li Keqiang is instructing relevant government agencies to speed up the cutting of prices of cancer drugs, according to a post published on the website of the State Council, the country’s cabinet.
The council noted that the move was in part a response to a film about patients desperate for affordable medication that became a hit at the box office over the last two weeks and has triggered widespread discussion across the country.
The movie, “Dying to Survive,” is based on the real-life story of leukemia patients in China who resorted to smuggling drugs from abroad because they could not afford them domestically.
In May, China canceled tariffs for cancer medicines, but some of the drugs remain costly, compared with household incomes. China’s medical insurance authority said earlier this month it would negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to lower the prices of such drugs.
“Cancer drugs are life-saving medicines. [It is unacceptable that] the tariffs are lowered but the prices are not,” Li said, according to the State Council.
–This article originally appeared on Caixin Global.