More Prescription Drugs to Be Reclassified

The Daily Yomiuri (Toyko, Japan), May 22, 2015 | Go to article overview

More Prescription Drugs to Be Reclassified


The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry intends to consider reclassifying some prescription drugs as over-the-counter ones, according to sources. The ministry will likely introduce a system to accept consumers' requests for such drug reclassification, and set up a panel of representatives from various fields sometime this summer to discuss which drugs should be issued as nonprescription medicines.

More effective drugs for hay fever and athlete's foot will become more readily available. It is expected that the number of prescription drugs covered by medical insurance will decrease, leading to a reduction in medical expenses.

Although prescription drugs require a consultation with a doctor due to side effects and for other reasons, some products, which have been used successfully and whose safety is confirmed to a certain extent, have been reclassified as nonprescription drugs in the past. Typical examples include stomach drugs known as H2 blockers and ibuprofen, a drug to reduce fever and treat pain or inflammation.

There is also a system through which prescription drugs can be switched to over-the-counter ones at the request of the Pharmaceutical Society of Japan and other bodies. However, in some cases, these drugs have not met patients' needs and have failed to be put into production for retail sale. …

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