Japan's MHLW names Tomonori Nakayama to key reimbursement post

Japan PM Abe

Japan's Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) announced a series of in-house moves that include naming Tomonori Nakayama as pharmaceutical management director at the Health Insurance Bureau's Medical Economics Division, a key post that advises on price reforms.

The bureau advises Japan's Central Social Insurance Medical Council known as Chuikyo. Nakayama was previously director of the Office of Review Management at the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA).

The reimbursement agency has been a focal point for the government led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to curb growing drug costs with a focus on best-selling newer therapies and a push to use more generic medicines.

The previous holder of the post, Kiyohito Nakai, was seconded to the National Cancer Center.

In other moves, Health Minister Yasuhisa Shiozaki retained Vice Health Minister Kazuo Futagawa in the top civil service post as well as Kazuhiko Mori, the councilor in charge of pharmaceuticals at the minister’s Secretariat.

Starting this week, Shiozaki has separated the Pharmaceutical Safety and Environmental Health Bureau’s Evaluation and Licensing Division into separate units with responsibility for drug and medical device reviews respectively.

Yasuhiro Suzuki, director general for technology policy coordination, will assume the role of director general of the Health Insurance Bureau. The current bureau chief, Takeshi Karasawa, will move to the Cabinet Secretariat.

In other appointments, Daisaku Sato will move to the post of director of the Pharmaceutical Safety and Environmental Health Bureau’s Safety Division with responsibility for medical database MID-NET, from his role as head of the PMDA’s Office of Cellular and Tissue-based Products.

Shiozaki also appointed Atsushi Ichinose as chief of the Blood and Blood Products Division of the Pharmaceutical Safety and Environmental Health Bureau, while Keiko Morimitsu was named to helm the Health Policy Bureau’s Research and Development Division, with a bill on clinical research rules now before parliament as part of her remit.

- here's the MHLW website