Liz Carter senior contributor

Infographic: Markups, Kickbacks, and Sellouts: What’s Wrong with China’s Medical System

This article was produced in collaboration with ChinaFile, a Tea Leaf Nation partner site.

As the United States haltingly moves to implement the Affordable Care Act, China claims it has already achieved universal rural health care, with more than 800 million rural residents enrolled in a medical plan. Yet according to recent reports the system still suffers from problems of quality and accessibility. The low salaries of medical professionals and insufficient funding of public hospitals create opportunities for pharmaceutical companies to exchange money for market access, much as they do in the United States. The following infographic, developed by Sohu Finance, traces this corruption to its source. Tea Leaf Nation translates from the original Chinese.


2012 Medical School Graduates Have Lowest Average Compensation, Medicine No Longer Ideal Profession,China Youth Daily
2012 Public Report on Statistics on Developments in China’s Health and Family Planning (Full Text)
Chai Huiqun, Supporting Doctors with Medicine is a Misnomer, Caijing
Chinese Doctors’ Salaries the Worst in the World, Jiaren
Industry Insiders Reveal Unwritten Rules: Why does a 20 RMB intravenous antibiotic sell for 115 RMB? China Business News
Pharmaceuticals with a Factory Price of 2 RMB Retail for 12 RMB: Price Markups on Pharmaceuticals and Sources of Hospital Profits,Southern Weekly
Supporting Doctors with Medicine is Killing Medicine with Medicine, People’s Daily
The Distribution Process Has Become the Greatest Black Hole for Sudden Profits from Pharmaceutical Sales, Xinhua Baoye

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Liz Carter

Liz Carter is a DC-based China-watcher and the author and translator of a number of Chinese-English textbooks available on amazon.cn. She and her cat Desmond relocated to DC from Beijing, where she studied contemporary Chinese literature at Peking University, after learning that HBO was planning to adapt Game of Thrones for television. She writes at abigenoughforest.com and tweets from @withoutdoing.
  • Ed Sander

    And the missing piece in this story: since patients get prescribed all kinds of overpriced drugs they don’t actually need this leads to utter despair among patients who cannot finance medical treatment anymore and in the worst cases aggression towards and violent attacks on medical staff.