Industry groups lobby against Japan reimbursement price cuts

Japan's efforts to trim drug and device costs while spurring innovation has led 6 drug industry groups to call for a review of a biennial National Health Insurance exercise to assess reimbursement prices that usually leads to cuts. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sees pharmaceuticals and medical devices as key for Japan's economic growth prospects and wants to fund R&D, but at the same time keep a lid on exploding healthcare costs through use of generics and tough payment negotiations. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), among other industry groups, said the cost cutting was counterproductive. "This could raise the cost of participating in the Japanese market and make investment riskier, which would be at odds with the Prime Minister's efforts to attract more investment in research and development and in manufacturing," they said in a July 15 joint statement. Other groups opposed to the review process include the American Medical Devices and Diagnostics Manufacturers Association, the Advanced Medical Technology Association, the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan and the European Business Council in particular reference to a sales tax hike planned in April 2017, which they said should simply be added on to costs. Japan raised sales taxes in April 2014, causing widespread stocking up in drugs and other sectors before the increase took effect. Release