Shares retreat, medical equipment firms lose big

Tracy Li
Health device manufacturers and related firms took a hit following news of a scheme that will drive down the cost of coronary stents.
Tracy Li

Chinese stocks ended lower on Friday, dragged down mainly by medical device manufacturers.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index shed 0.24 percent to close at 3,312.16 points, after a higher opening.

The smaller Shenzhen Component Index was down 0.40 percent to finish at 13,838.42, while the ChiNext Index slipped 1.97 percent to end its trading day at 2,733.07.

Combined turnover on the two bourses came to 878.4 billion yuan (US$132.6 billion), compared with 859.7 billion yuan in the previous session.

Most sectors fell, with medical equipment makers, electric equipment manufacturers and national defense companies the worst performers.

The fluctuation came following news that coronary stent prices will drop significantly in the future as the Chinese government is conducting a centralized procurement program for high-value medical commodities.

Once priced at more than 10,000 yuan each, coronary stents are expected to become available in Chinese hospitals at roughly 1,000 yuan for the treatment of coronary heart disease, according to a Xinhua report.

Zhao Huan, chief investment consultant at Pacific Securities, told that the centralized procurement move is challenging for related listed medical device companies in the short term.

However, the move will further boost product R&D and innovation, Zhao explained.

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