Beijing — For decades, Chinese patients have struggled to gain access to cutting-edge medicines thanks to bureaucratic delays that have hamstrung drug development. Now a sweeping government overhaul of drug approvals is poised to change that. Beijing on Sunday announced new rules that will speed up approvals of medicines and medical devices, easing bottlenecks in introducing new treatments. The move is also a growth opportunity for international and local drugmakers in the world’s second biggest pharmaceutical market. The changes were announced by the State Council, China’s cabinet, just days before a key leadership gathering in Beijing next week. On October 18, delegates will gather for the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party, a twice-in-a-decade shuffling of China’s political decks. Under the new rules, data from overseas clinical trials can be used for drug registrations in China. That removes the need for manufacturers to conduct added tests in China after receiving ov...

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