• Kyodo

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday vowed to expand medical treatment combining insured and uninsured services based on patients’ requests.

“We will create a new patient-requested treatment system,” Abe told reporters after visiting a hospital in Tokyo. “The system will allow patients to receive advanced treatments at familiar hospitals.”

Japan has permitted a total of 94 uninsured advanced medical treatments to be combined with insured treatments mainly for research purposes.

The new system will give priority to patients’ requests so that the range of patients eligible for the combined services will widen, government officials said.

It will also cut the time needed to grant approval of such treatments using unapproved drugs to about 20 percent of the current waiting time of six to seven months, according to officials.

The government plans to include the new system in its new economic growth strategy to be released later this month, before submitting a bill for the system to the Diet next year.

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