Selection of cost-effective medicines at the primary health care, hospital or national level should be a major, and probably the first, component of cost-containment of medicines in China. Selective medicines lists for public health systems or private insurance include:
• Positive lists (essential medicines) setting criteria for new medicines to qualify for reimbursement;
• Negative lists, as in some industrialized countries, which exclude medicines from coverage under the health insurance system for therapeutic or financial reasons.
From a macro-economic perspective, access to HIV-related medicines should be seen in the context of a consistent selection of medicines supplied to patients by the public sector or by health insurance schemes (see also page 9, Government price controls).