China to relax generic drug import laws

The government in China has stated that small quantities of generic medicines that are legal in foreign countries will no longer be classed as “fake drugs”.

The Chinese government has announced that it will be relaxing drug laws to allow greater leniency for the import of small quantities of medicines unapproved in China but sold legally in other countries. The decision was approved by the National People’s Congress (NPC) on Monday.

The previous law, as reported by Reuters, classified these pharmaceuticals as “fake drugs” with those caught considered as smugglers.

The new legislation will enable greater imports of foreign genetic drugs into the country. However, those who want to import generic drugs for profit will still have to follow Chinese laws to register and obtain approval.

“Article 124 of the newly revised drug administration law stipulates that the import of a small number of drugs that have been legally listed overseas without approval can be exempted from punishment in minor cases,” the state-run news outlet, The Paper, reported.

“I think it is definitely a response to society’s concern over the issue,” said Yuan Jie, an official at the Legislative Affairs Commission of the standing committee of the NPC at a press conference on Monday when asked about the change in the law.

The new ruling will come into effect from 1 December 2019.