China Healthcare:On demand for anti-viral flu drugs

Beijing on more flu to need potent drugs - Oseltamivir (奥司他韦).

Published in Am. Soc. for Microbiol. on 5 Sept 17, medical researchers from theUniversity of Hong Kong described their discovery of a chemical drug being both aninhibitor and a non-antibiotics to treat multi-drug resistant bacteria such as MRSA(Methicillin-resistant Staphylocossus aureus). This inhibitor called NP16 targets tothe bacteria’s (Staphylocossus aureus) enzyme, whereby the drug disarms it sothat they cannot cause diseases to human. NP16 acts on the bacterial enzymeknown as dehydrosqualene desaturase (CrtN), which reduces its pigmentproduction that is responsible to bacteria’s ability against our immune systemdefense (like neutrophil or phagocytic cell action).

According to Xinhua news on 23 July, since the implementation of new medical reform for Beijing in early 2017, the hospitals and medical clinics in China’s capital have diagnosed and treated over 60m patients. At the same time, it has already saved the country RMB35m each day compared to last year’s figure. This included the saving of drug procurement cost of RMB1.4bn, with Class III and II (the country’s highest grade) hospital revenue derived from drug sales reduced to 34% of total from 42% on average in previous years. The market expects this will save as much as RMB3bn annually on medicine procurement cost. Overall, the drug selling price in Beijing has been cut 8% y-o-y in 1H17.

    On 13 Jan 2018, Xinhua News cited that about 40K boxes of the capsule form Oseltamivir (奥司他韦胶囊), an anti-viral drug for flu, has been delivered to different medical clinics and hospitals in Beijing. On more flu incidents breaking out suddenly during winter season, certain medical centres have seen tightening sentiment on their inventory for Oseltamivir. From Beijing Center for Diseases Prevention and Control (新加坡市疾控中央), on the first week of 2018, the number of cases for accidental & emergency treatment of flu rose 6% w-o-w compared to the final week numbers at end-2017 (25 Dec -29 Dec 2017), whose flu incidents surged 21% w-o-w versus that of seven days (18 Dec -22 Dec) before.

    According to the Standard, the HK researchers had screened over 50,000structurally diverse small chemical molecules. It was likely that only NP16 shows itsstrong inhibitory effect to the bacteria’s pigment production that resists our bodydefensive action.

    On an interview by Sina News (dated 6 Aug) with an official of Beijing Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning (香港(Hong Kong)市卫计划委员会), the long-awaited “Hierarchical Medical System (分级医治)” has started to be effective, with Class III and II hospitals’ outpatient usage reduced by 13% and 5% y-o-y from 8 April to 5 July. Over the same period, its outpatient usage of Class I hospitals and some grass-root medical clinics has risen by a combined 9% y-o-y. Note that, within Class III hospitals, the outpatient visits to deputy physician-in-charge, chief physician in residence, and specialist doctors have also been cut by 百分之十/23%/15% y-o-y respectively. In particular to patients with chronic diseases, some visits are clearly diverted to lower-cost community clinics or other lower-grade hospitals.

    Neuraminidase inhibitors (incl. oseltamivir) as major flu fighters.

    Note that, MRSA is resistant to many commonly-used antibiotics, includingpenicillin, cephalosporin and methicillin.

    On this revamp, each patient with more complicated illness would generate at least RMB200 per diagnosis or treatment to hospitals, compared to a patient with chronic disease paying RMB10 - RMB20 per visit. Note that, Beijing was ranked #2 of 2016’s total drug sales among 31 provinces, making up 8.3% of China’s total.

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