China’s medical bulk purchasing program will include dental implants

(Yicai Global) Aug. 19 — China’s health care watchdog plans to promote centralized purchasing of dental implant consumables and regulate the pricing of dental implant procedures to curb high dental costs.

Health authorities should standardize prices for dental implants, dental crowns, bone grafts and organize bulk purchasing of dental consumables to bring prices down, the National Healthcare Security Administration said yesterday.

Dental practices charge a high premium for dental surgery, with one-third of the cost going to the materials and the rest to the dentist, Guancha reported earlier this year, citing China Insights Consultancy partner Wang Wenhua. Consumables for the implants cost between 500 CNY (73 USD) and 2,000 CNY (294 USD), but customers have to pay between 5,000 CNY and 20,000 CNY, he added.

However, it is difficult to include dental implants in the centralized supply program because most dental implant practices are privately run and as such are not listed in the national directory of dental implants. health insurance that mainly serves public hospitals, Wang told Yicai Global recently.

The NHSA is working on solutions to motivate public hospitals to participate in bulk purchasing programs. For example, it requests the Sichuan Provincial Health Care Safety Administration to form an inter-provincial dental implant consumables supply alliance. Public hospitals must participate and place orders equal to their actual purchases in the previous year.

“The Chinese dental implant industry is worth up to 3 billion yuan ($440.5 million) based on ex-factory prices,” Wang said. This is likely to change once the sector is included in the centralized procurement program. By participating in bulk purchasing programs, the price of dental implant materials could be reduced by up to 89.5%, based on a previous trial from Bengbu in eastern Anhui province .

China performs about 21 dental implants per 10,000 people, compared to 630 in South Korea and more than 100 in developed Western countries, so there is still plenty of room for growth, according to CIC statistics.

Editor: Kim Taylor