Medicine Mirage

A recent report in Guangzhou’s official Guangzhou Daily quoted China’s Development and Reform Commission (DRC) as saying that prices for 162 medicines would be reduced by around 20 percent beginning on March 28 this year, in response to concerns over the cost of healthcare in China. The report said this was the 27th time price reductions for medicines had been announced by the DRC in the last few years. But city residents in Guangzhou told the newspaper that medicines remained expensive even after officially-imposed reductions. Industry insiders said one reason for this was that hospitals tended not to stock medicines after their prices were reduced, favoring more expensive and profitable medications. In this cartoon, posted by the Kunming-based studio Yuan Jiao Man’s Space (圆觉漫时空) to QQ.com, citizens look on with exasperation as invisible medicines on the left side of a scale of fairness tip downwards, becoming cheaper, while available medicines on the right side of the scale shoot up in price.

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