Drugs with ingredients from threatened species not covered by Chinese insurance

The Chinese government has announced that medicines containing ingredients from threatened species such as pangolins will no longer be eligible for insurance coverage.

China’s National Medical Insurance and the Human Resource and Social Security Bureau has announced that traditional medicines which contain ingredients from a list of threatened animals will no longer be covered by state insurance, reports National Geographic.

The removal includes pangolin “decoctions”, hawksbill sea turtles, sea horses and saiga antelope antlers from the insurance-eligible drugs list. The pangolin is an endangered animal and its use in medicines threatens all eight species.

The non-profit organisation, China Biodiversity and Green Development Foundation, says that pangolin scales are in over 60 commercially produced curatives from over 200 pharmaceutical businesses.

The ingredient is used to treat a range of conditions such as poor circulation and difficulties with lactation.

China approves pharmaceutical companies to use 29 tons of pangolin scales per year, which approximately represents 73,000 pangolins.

The change will come into effect January 2020.