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HOME  > Past issues  > 2011 March 9 - 15  > Gov’t deregulation plan disregards medical safety
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2011 March 9 - 15 [POLITICS]

Gov’t deregulation plan disregards medical safety

March 9, 2011
The Kan Cabinet is planing to ease a wide range of government regulations on medical and nursing-care services with an eye on Japan’s entry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade agreement.

As a part of the plan, the Government Revitalization Unit on March 6 and 7 held a screening session to examine some government regulations. In the session, screening team members, including Democratic Party lawmakers and private-sector experts, made decisions in disregard of public health and safety.

When discussing the relaxation of restrictions on drug sales on the Internet, a representative of the National Liaison Council of Organizations of Victims of Harmful Effects of Drugs attended the session as a witness and cited serious side effects caused by drugs available on the Internet. She called on the screening team to carefully make decisions in regard to deregulation. However, screening members decided to deregulate anyway, stating that it is hard to prove that the face-to-face sale of drugs is safer than the sale of drugs through the Internet.

In the discussion about lowering the standards for home-visiting nurse stations, a witness representing the nursing-care service industry expressed concern about whether or not the lowered standards guarantee the provision of safe and secured services to the users. The Japan Medical Association also opposed lowering the standards. However, the screening team determined that the standards should be lowered.

The outcome of the session will be reflected in the government’s deregulation plan to be adopted at the end of March.

The government panel on regulatory reform set under the Government Revitalization Unit proposed in its interim report published in January that regulations on 284 items should be revised. Among listed regulations and procedures, the panel suggested that the approval process for new drugs and new food additives should be simplified in response to the U.S. demand that was presented at the recent meeting of the Japan-U.S. Economic Harmonization Initiative. This will threaten the safety of Japan’s food products and people’s lives.
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