Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers in charge of administrative and regulatory reform approved 12 deregulation targets Thursday that have been adopted by the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy.
The deregulation package features a compromise over plans to allow the sale of over-the-counter drugs at convenience stores and other retailers.
The government called for a careful review in fiscal 2003 of how OTC sales of this kind would contribute to people’s convenience and whether consumers would experience problems purchasing these drugs at retailers without the advice of pharmacists.
The government will then allow OTC retail sales of all drugs whose safety has been confirmed.
Mahito Nakajima, head of the LDP Health, Labor and Welfare Division, lashed out at the process of singling out drugs, asking who would have the final say in safety confirmation.
During a separate meeting, the LDP division came up with a written opinion articulating its opposition to the deregulation package.
It criticized the government’s goal of curbing the potential public burden — the ratio of taxes, social insurance premiums and fiscal deficit to national income — to stabilize at around 50 percent in the future. This ratio stood at 47 percent in fiscal 2001.
The division believes this goal runs counter to the social security reforms pursued by the government, and the ratio will inevitably rise with higher social insurance premiums and other factors being weighed for implementation.
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