Digital Health Legal
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Volume: 5 Issue: 6
(June 2018)

chinas state council issues industrial policy digital hospitals 28 april 2018 general office state council peoples republic china issued high

China Beijing

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China’s State Council issues industrial policy on digital hospitals

On 28 April 2018, the General Office of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China issued a high level industrial policy on the promotion of ‘Internet Plus Healthcare’ (‘State Council Opinion’). Although the wording of the State Council Opinion is not especially clear, the prevailing view is that the Opinion sets out the basic principle that digital hospitals and online pharmacies must be established based on physical medical institutions and brick-and-mortar pharmacies. The National Health Commission (‘NHC’) is also drafting implementation rules that will regulate the establishment and operation of digital hospitals, which will be issued soon. The State Administration for Drug Regulation (‘SADR’) is drafting the relevant rules for online pharmacies. Depending on the content of the implementation rules to be issued by the NHC and the SADR, it is likely that the existing online medical consultation providers that do not own or cooperate with physical medical institutions or pharmacies will face greater legal uncertainty, stricter regulatory supervision and may even have to change their business models. Ziqing Zheng, Partner at Zhong Lun Law Firm, discusses here the State Council’s Opinion, the areas that would benefit from more clarity and China’s move to encourage foreign investment in healthcare that has been highlighted by the recent deal between Babylon and Tencent to deploy health technology via WeChat.

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