Structural changes required to make Japan’s health system sustainable, according to Economist Intelligence Unit report

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  • Challenges from ageing populations and covid-19 are putting
    pressure on Japan’s health system
  • Japan’s health system falls behind its peers in terms of
    long-term strategic perspective
  • Price review and setting mechanism introduces unintended
    inefficiencies in the health system and act as a brake on structural reform

TOKYO, JAPAN – Media
OutReach
 – 23 September 2020 – Japan’s healthcare system has kept the country remarkably healthy
with relatively minor changes for nearly six decades. The system provides
universal care, extensive coverage and the most innovative treatments at a cost
that is accessible to all. Yet the scope of coverage in the Japanese system
obscures the extent to which policymakers have put off making necessary but
difficult choices. In particular, the lack of regulation of demand for health
services, the pressures of an ageing population and the underdeveloped system
for determining cost-benefit for health investments could paralyse Japan’s
healthcare system as the cost of providing health services increase. The
economic consequences of this would inevitably reverberate beyond the health
system itself.

 

Sustainable health systems not only have
appropriate resources to effectively function but are also capable of keeping
up with developments and overcoming hurdles. Health systems must be able to
address challenges and demonstrate the political will required to explore and
implement innovative designs for health services. For Japan, evolving
population demographics and financial pressures represent two of the biggest
hurdles for sustainability.

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Health system sustainability in Japan
is a report by The Economist Intelligence Unit, sponsored by Pfizer. It
examines the challenges and opportunities that Japan’s healthcare system is
facing and the sustainability of its current system compared with those of
other developed industrial countries. The research uses a scorecard to compare
Japan’s performance against those of five other countries across a number of domains,
including disease prevention, integrated health models, the medical workforce
and long-term care.

 

The research points to signs that
significant fixes to Japan’s healthcare system may be necessary for Japan’s
health system to maintain long-term stability. Although Japan compares well in
many respects to the more expensive and fragmented system in the US, it lags
behind the UK, France or South Korea, in three of the five principal scoring
domains Japan received its highest scores in the domains covering disease prevention and health
infrastructure,
and accountability
and patient-centredness
, and lowest in long-term
strategic perspective
and provision of integrated
care models
. Key issues that Japan’s health system must overcome to
maintain long-term stability include changing incentives for healthcare
utilization where currently prices are kept low but there is no limit on
demand; an overhaul of time-consuming biannual price reviews; and better use of
cost-saving generic and biosimilar drugs.

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Jesse Quigley Jones, editor of the report,
said, “Japan’s health system is justly praised for its high-quality and
generous coverage, however it’s long-term sustainability is increasingly under
question. The covid-19 pandemic has highlighted vulnerabilities of the system
with experts warning of the collapse of the emergency medicine system, and
potential knock-on effects for the broader health system and even overall
economy. Our research has highlighted some positive steps towards reform and an
emerging long-term vision, but further political commitment is needed to make
evidence-based decisions and ensure Japan’s health system is sustainable for
generations to come.”

Read Also:  Henkel sets new and ambitious targets for sustainable packaging and climate protection

About the research

Health system sustainability in Japan
is a report by The Economist Intelligence Unit, sponsored by Pfizer. It
examines the challenges and opportunities that Japan’s healthcare system is
facing and the sustainability of its current system compared with those of
other developed industrial countries. The research uses a scorecard to compare
Japan’s performance against those of five other countries  across a number of domains, including
financing, cost-benefit analysis, workforce issues, medical research and
long-term care.

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About The Economist Intelligence Unit

The Economist
Intelligence Unit is the world leader in global business intelligence. It is
the business-to-business arm of The Economist Group, which publishes The
Economist newspaper. The Economist Intelligence Unit helps executives make
better decisions by providing timely, reliable and impartial analysis on
worldwide market trends and business strategies.

More information
can be found at www.eiu.com or www.twitter.com/theeiu

About Pfizer

At Pfizer, we apply science and our
global resources to bring therapies to people that extend and significantly
improve their lives. We strive to set the standard for quality, safety and
value in the discovery, development and manufacture of health care products,
including innovative medicines and vaccines. Every day, Pfizer colleagues work
across developed and emerging markets to advance wellness, prevention,
treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time.
Consistent with our responsibility as one of the world’s premier innovative
biopharmaceutical companies, we collaborate with health care providers,
governments and local communities to support and expand access to reliable,
affordable health care around the world. For more than 170 years, we have
worked to make a difference for all who rely on us. We routinely post
information that may be important to investors on our website at 
www.pfizer.com. In addition, to learn
more, please visit us on 
www.pfizer.comglobaland www.pfizer.co.jp (Japan)

Structural changes required to make Japan’s health system sustainable, according to Economist Intelligence Unit report

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