Cancer patients suffer brunt of new experimental drug law in China
After Wu Xianfa was diagnosed with lung cancer last year, he had surgery to remove part of his lower left lung. When his doctor recommended chemotherapy to wipe out any remaining cancer cells, Wu refused. Colleagues who had also had lung cancer had died after getting chemotherapy straight after surgery. Following a friend’s recommendation, the 50-year-old from Shanghai started taking an experimental drug. He signed an agreement with Shanghai Spark Pharmaceutical in April last year to join its trial – and says it has been a boon to his health. “I get no other treatments besides the drug,” Wu says. “I get regular checks at hospitals and send the reports about my cancer index and other medical
Cancer patients suffer brunt of new experimental drug law in China
How does China get global big pharma to cut prices?
China has added the largest ever batch of new products to its list of subsidized drugs, in a move that will cut the costs of many drugs in half.  Seventy drugs were added to the national reimbursement list at the end of November, many of them cancer and anti-infection treatments, after extensive negotiations with pharmaceutical companies. “The number of new drugs and the total amount of medications negotiated have reached a new record. Many imported drugs will have the lowest price in the world,” the National Healthcare Security Administration said. High drug prices, especially for cancer drugs, have long been a problem in China. The issue was highlighted by the hit film Dying to Survive, re
How does China get global big pharma to cut prices?
Why China’s cancer patients have great sympathy for convicted ‘drug god’
Zhai Yiping clearly broke the law. But is what he did wrong? The question has been raised as part of a discussion of China’s health care system after Zhai was punished for selling foreign drugs to cancer patients in a country where those medications are unavailable or expensive. After being diagnosed with liver cancer in 2014, Zhai devoured news of the latest cancer drugs released around the world. In 2016, he found two new overseas medicines that were more effective than similar medications in China and cost less.  Zhai spread the news to other patients in China and, eventually, the demand became so high that he started to smuggle these drugs from Germany. He charged a 5% markup. He would b
 Why China’s cancer patients have great sympathy for convicted ‘drug god’
Seaweed is the star ingredient in new Alzheimer’s drug approved by China
The world’s first new drug for treating Alzheimer’s disease in nearly two decades, based on seaweed, was approved by the Chinese government this weekend. The drug, Oligomannate, could represent a breakthrough in the global effort to develop treatments for the neurodegenerative disorder, which has no cure and is predicted to affect 150 million people worldwide by 2050. The National Medical Products Administration, China’s drug regulator, said Oligomannate had been approved for the treatment of “mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease and improving cognitive function.” As brain cells degenerate, symptoms progress from repeating words to forgetting the faces of family members. The decline in brain
Seaweed is the star ingredient in new Alzheimer’s drug approved by China
China is betting big on the global CBD boom
A boom in the popularity of cannabis-derived cannabidiol (CBD) in the US and Europe has started a frenzy of interest in commercial hemp grown in China. CBD is believed to help cure a range of illnesses, even though there is little scientific evidence. But that hasn’t stopped the industry from growing. The global CBD market is expected to hit $16 billion by 2025, according to one estimate. Viola Zhou visited southwestern China’s Yunnan province, where it is legal to grow commercial cannabis, to see how this CBD boom is playing out in China.
China is betting big on the global CBD boom
Breast cancer survivor on folly of ‘Asian way’ of hiding illnesses
Last October Hong Kong-born Kim Li could not have anticipated how her world would be turned upside down when her 14-year-old daughter came home from school in tears, having discovered her school friend had just found a lump in her breast. Li, a former science teacher in Hong Kong now teaching in Britain, was used to dealing with teenage upsets. But as she tried to comfort her daughter, Priya, she couldn’t shake the nagging worry about the lump in her own breast, which she had been ignoring for over a month. That same evening, Li asked her physician husband to feel the lump. After he felt it, her husband became quiet. He turned off the light and said: “We need to ring the GP [general practiti
Breast cancer survivor on folly of ‘Asian way’ of hiding illnesses
The fight of this Taiwanese activist’s life? The right to die
Rose Yang Yu-xing talks about death with grace, dignity and courage. The 44-year-old has spoken publicly about the subject since 2012, when she began a four-year term as a lawmaker in Taiwan. The wheelchair user is the major force behind Taiwan’s Patient Autonomy Act – the first such law in Asia – which gives terminally ill patients and those with incurable diseases the right to reject life-prolonging treatment. Yang spent her time in office pushing for enactment of the law, which came into effect in January 2019. Yang was diagnosed with Miyoshi myopathy, a rare form of muscular dystrophy, when she was 19. Within months she was paralyzed. Miyoshi myopathy usually affects people who are middl
The fight of this Taiwanese activist’s life? The right to die
From med school to veggie surgery
A woman from northwestern China’s Ningxia Hui autonomous region is gaining attention online for being a “fruit surgeon.” Medical school-trained, she wants to raise public awareness of medicine and common procedures.  She cuts into real fruits and vegetables, reenacting common operations that people undergo. Check out our video, above, for more.
From med school to veggie surgery
3-year-old girl survives rare breast cancer
A three-year-old girl in China has been cured after becoming one of the youngest breast cancer victims in the world. The girl, identified in local Chinese media as Yanyan, is the youngest Chinese known to have suffered from the rare disease of secretory breast carcinoma in the past 50 years, according to a doctor who treated her. The Jiangsu People’s Hospital, where Yanyan was treated, confirmed that a three-year-old was cured of breast cancer on its official Weibo page on Tuesday. Previously, two three-year-olds in the United States were reported to have had breast cancer by the Journal of the American Medical Association and Journal of Pediatric Surgery. Secretory breast carcinoma is a rar
3-year-old girl survives rare breast cancer