Japan to help Brazil accelerate drug safety assessment

Kyodo

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to tell Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff in Brazil on Aug. 1 that Japan will provide expertise to speed up its ability to assess the safety of new drugs, a government source said Wednesday.

Japan plans to offer data accumulated by its drug examination agency and send experts on pharmaceutical administration to Brazil, the source said.

It will be the first time Japan has provide such know-how to any other country, and Tokyo hopes shorter screening periods will help it boost sales of pharmaceuticals there.

Abe is expected to sign a memorandum of understanding for cooperation in the medical sector during his meeting with Rousseff.

The health and medical sectors are key areas covered by the so-called third arrow of “Abenomics,” the prime minister’s deflation-beating economic growth strategy. The government is trying to help Japanese companies gain a foothold in high-quality medical equipment and pharmaceutical products in emerging countries.

The government regards Brazil as a suitable place to provide Japanese medical expertise, and demand for medical products is expected to surge there, given its strong economic growth. The existence of many Japanese-Brazilian doctors in Brazil also makes it easier for Japanese companies to enter the market.

In Brazil, it takes 21 to 30 months for a new drug to be approved for sale after completing clinical trials, while in Japan it takes only four to 13 months, according to the source.

The Japanese government thinks a lack of sufficient knowledge among Brazilian authorities has dragged out the screening process, and that the situation can be changed by dispatching experts from its own drug examination authority to provide know-how.

The two governments are expected to jointly set up a plan for speeding up the process by the end of the year.