NRI Papers
No.149 December 1 , 2009
  Effect of Amendment to Japan's Pharmaceutical Affairs Law  
Daisuke MATSUO
   To date, non-prescription (over-the-counter) drugs have only been handled by pharmacists without distinction. The Law for Partial Amendment to the Pharmaceutical Affairs Law that was put into force in June 2009 classified these drugs into three groups according to the risk involved. This amendment aims to build a sales structure in which licensed persons at multiple levels are involved according to the magnitude of the associated risk.
   Based on the revised law, drugs that are considered to have relatively low risk are now sold at supermarkets and convenience stores. For the drug store industry, this deregulation has meant the emergence of competitors coming from different lines of business, and has brought about a major change in the competitive environment where they operate.
   What is considered necessary for drug stores to survive is to pursue the improvement of their technical knowledge and skills to a greater extent than in the past, rather than simply expanding the scale of their business activities. Drug stores must remind themselves of the significance of being "home pharmacies" and must strengthen their technical abilities to build consumer trust.
   Suggested approaches to strengthen the technical abilities of drug stores include providing information to consumers based on reliable clinical research data (evidence), developing tools enabling the provision of appropriate counseling to customers and considering alliances and/or functional integration with dispensing pharmacies to equip drug stores with functions to fill prescriptions.
Contents
I Amendment to Japan's Pharmaceutical Affairs Law
II Responses of Drug Stores to the Amended Pharmaceutical Affairs Law
III Business Opportunities Generated by the Amended Pharmaceutical Affairs Law
IV New Functions Required of Drug Stores
V The Amended Pharmaceutical Affairs Law Prompts New Approaches

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