Policy Forum

Psychiatric Drug Development in Japan

Science  19 Jul 1996:
Vol. 273, Issue 5273, pp. 318-319
DOI: 10.1126/science.273.5273.318


A wide variety of drugs prescribed by psychiatrists in Western countries are not yet available in Japan. The manufacturers of these drugs are often reluctant to conduct the expensive clinical trials required by the Japanese government for their approval; they have already incurred such expenses in other countries, and the market for psychiatric drugs in Japan can be uncertain. Moreover, the Japanese clinical trial system has many methodological problems, which the government has only now started to address. An international agreement to make the results of drug trials reciprocal among participating countries would reduce costs for governments as well as drug manufacturers.