SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China plans to add a range of cancer drugs to medicines eligible for reimbursement from the government, the official Xinhua news agency said on Saturday, adding that negotiations on pricing with manufacturers should be finished by end-September.

China’s cancer rates have been soaring, driven by growing numbers of people in their sixties, heavy smoking among men and exposure to pollution.

The drugs under discussion treat blood cancers and solid tumors, including colorectal cancer, renal cell carcinoma, lymphoma and chronic myelogenous leukaemia, according to Xinhua.

The news comes after a low-budget Chinese movie released earlier this year told a story about a leukaemia patient who turns to smuggling cheap cancer drugs from India.

The tale struck a chord with Internet users and even the country’s leaders, spotlighting national anxieties about unaffordable hospital care.

(Reporting by Engen Tham; Editing by Tom Hogue)