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Message from Chairman

 Terukazu Kato Chairman of JKMA

   Given the wide-ranging business domains of its member companies, the Japan Kampo Medicines Manufacturers Association (hereinafter referred to as “JKMA”) has organized five industrial commissions and six functional committees to carry out its activities.

   This year 2017 is the first year of its “2017 Medium-to-Long-Term Business Plan (Five Year Plan).”

   Building on the achievements of its previous 2012 Medium-to-Long-Term Business Plan, JKMA will actively engage in activities to resolve the issues that have come to light.

   One of JKMA’s biggest achievements in the past five years is the “Forum: The Vision for Kampo Medicine and Public Welfare ” which it held in 2016 in collaboration with the Japan Society for Oriental Medicine and with support from many quarters.

   JKMA launched this Forum with the objective of summarizing issues that need to be tackled through collaboration between industry, government, academia and the public, and resolving these issues with a sense of urgency. This involved examining how Kampo medicines should contribute to people’s health and health care, sharing issues, etc. surrounding quality assurance at each stage, from plant raw materials for crude drugs to bulk extracts and finished products, and the stable supply of Kampo medicines to the health care frontline, and drawing a clear future vision for Kampo medicines.

   With Dr. Fumimaro Takaku, President of the Japanese Association of Medical Sciences, serving as chairman of the Forum and Professor Masaki Kitajima, Vice Chairman and Honorary President of the International University of Health and Welfare, serving as Chief Facilitator, the Forum heard a wide range of invaluable opinions from academics who are the leading authorities on Kampo medicine in Japan and issued its recommendations in March 2017. I would once again like to extend my sincere thanks to all the members of the Forum for taking time out of their busy schedules to participate, as well as to all the academics, government officials and other relevant bodies that gave presentations at each session.

   Based on the Japanese Government’s aim of realizing a "Society of Health and Longevity,” "The New Orange Plan (Japanese dementia strategy) ” and "The Acceleration Plan for Cancer Control”, the Forum recommended accelerating the establishment of evidence for the effectiveness of Kampo medicines in treating disease in the elderly, focusing on supportive care in cancer and frailty, accelerating research by industry-government-academia collaboration, and furnishing information to the public and providing explanations throughout.

   JKMA incorporated these recommendations into its new 2017 Medium-to-Long-Term Business Plan and will work towards their early achievement.

   Researchers have reported on the need for Kampo medicines to treat the side effects caused by cancer treatment and postoperative complications and sequelae. In other words, Kampo medicines have been shown to be clinically effective in supportive care in cancer, for example, when treating loss of appetite, peripheral neuropathy or oral ulcers. JKMA aims to further promote research and include the findings in evidence-based clinical practice guidelines. JKMA hopes that, by being used to treat a wide range of disorders, Kampo medicines will improve QOL and QOC, and better enable patients to balance work and treatment.

   Displaying different mechanisms of action from Western medicines, Kampo medicines have great potential as a solution for physical frailty and cognitive impairment when treating disease in the elderly. JKMA would like to contribute to the extension of healthy life expectancy by further accelerating the construction of evidence for the effectiveness of Kampo medicines as a means of preventing overeating, relieving neurosis and anxiety, reducing the risk of a fall and otherwise preventing frailty when used in conjunction with proper exercise and nutrition.

   JKMA also intends to actively cooperate with initiatives for the quality assurance and stable supply of Kampo medicines, etc., aiming for the development of “Guidelines on Quality Assurance and Applications for Approval for Re-positioning and New Formulations, etc.” for multi-component drugs. JKMA believes that these Guidelines will facilitate initiatives to develop new dosage forms which is easy for the elderly and cancer patients to take, which was difficult due to absence of guide-lines.

   As for the “promotion of quality assurance and stable procurement of raw materials for crude drugs,” which is JKMA’s top priority, JKMA will collaborate with the relevant organizations to examine ways of selecting and storing superior seeds and growing raw materials for crude drugs, and will accelerate the development of new cultivation methods, especially large-scale mechanized cultivation, both independently and by government, industry and academia collaboration, to further promote cultivation in Japan. JKMA will also focus on research relating to crude drug cultivation targets and production costs in Japan and clarification of the suggested price bracket.

   Another recommendation received by JKMA was that Kampo medicines should be positioned as basic drugs under Japan’s National Health Insurance system and that measures should be taken to stabilize prices so that Kampo medicines can continue to contribute to people’s health care. JKMA plans to make a request via the Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Associations of Japan, which is the upper organization, that Kampo medicines, which are versatile and widely used in medical cure, and be positioned as basic drugs and that measures be taken to stabilize prices.

   According to another very interesting presentation at the Forum , analysis based on the Japanese Diagnosis Procedure Combination (DPC) inpatient database, which consists of data from more than 1,000 large and medium-sized hospitals, including university hospitals, in other words “Big Data Analysis,” showed that treatment with Kampo medicines was effective in reducing health care costs. The analysis provided a scientific basis for evaluation of the economic effectiveness of Kampo medicines, stating that the administration of Daikenchuto to treat complications in postoperative cancer patients significantly shortens the duration of hospitalization and can reduce inpatient treatment costs. When administered as a sleeping drug to hospitalized patients with dementia, Yokukansan lowered the risk of fracture by reducing the frequency of fracture due to a fall. JKMA also intends to actively disseminate information to raise public awareness about the economic effectiveness of Kampo medicines.

   In response to these recommendations, JKMA will establish new projects, which is cross-functional among JKMA committees, to steadily implement initiatives with a sense of urgency and will also publish information about the progress and outcomes of these initiatives.

   Another challenge being addressed by JKMA is the promotion of self-medication, in other words, what people do to themselves to manage health and prevent illness. JKMA will work with the Japan Federation of Self-Medication Industries to make people aware that they should take responsibility for their own health and deal with minor ailments themselves. JKMA will also lobby for Kampo medicines and crude drug products to be tax deductible under the self-medication tax deduction system introduced in January 2017.

   Now in its fourth year, the Japan-China Traditional Medicines Exchange also organized a delegation to Japan in April. The delegation was led for the first time by Ms Meng Dongping, Vice President of China Chamber of Commerce for Import & Export of Medicines & Health Products (CCCMHPIE), which is under the direct jurisdiction of the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China. JKMA exchanged opinions with the delegation at Tokyo Big Site. As the partner organization of CCCMHPIE, JKMA intends to build a strong relationship of trust for the stable procurement of crude drugs.

   By steadily implementing its new 2017 Medium-to-Long-Term Business Plan (Five Year Plan) in this way, JKMA will do its utmost to contribute, even if in a small way, to the people’s health and health care. We would be most grateful if you could provide us with your continuous support and understanding.