Cracking the Code of the Access Landscape in China

Analysis of the 2021 NRDL Update

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As the market becomes increasingly crowded and budget constraints continue in China, downward pricing pressure to secure National Reimbursement Drug List (NRDL) inclusion remains the top challenge for multinational pharma companies in this market. However, the significant uptake post-NRDL inclusion and broad access offer substantial opportunities for innovative products with clinical differentiation.  

In this white paper, Trinity Life Sciences explores the highlights of the 2021 NRDL negotiation; including trends within the oncology, rare disease and chronic disease therapeutic areas to support the development of successful access strategies in China. 

Executive Summary

  • The success rate of the 2021 National Reimbursement Drug List (NRDL) negotiation hit a historic high since 2019, reinforcing the NRDL as the major access pathway for new therapies in China.
  • Concerned about budget impact and sustainability, Chinese payers expect steep price reduction for innovative therapies to reach the potential informal price cap: RMB 300K / USD 41K for oncology and rare diseases, RMB 12K / USD 1.6K for prevalent chronic conditions.
  • While the price reduction may be daunting, NRDL inclusion allows access to large patient volume and unlocks significant commercial opportunity, leading to dramatic revenue growth immediately after the NRDL update.
  • Small price premium can be achieved in NRDL negotiation with robust evidence on clinical benefits over current treatment.

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