YIES / Medical system must stress prevention to promote fiscal health, Nakamura says

The Yomiuri Shimbun

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The government should shift its emphasis from disease treatment to preventive medicine as a national strategy, according to University of Chicago Prof. Yusuke Nakamura.

Nakamura, who previously headed the Office of Medical Innovation of the Cabinet Secretariat while the Democratic Party of Japan was the ruling party, delivered a talk at a meeting of the Yomiuri International Economic Society held in Tokyo on Wednesday.

He argued that the rising medical costs brought about by the growth of the elderly population constitute “a very significant issue that affects the existence of the state.”

“The government needs to reduce medical costs while continuing to provide cutting-edge medical treatment without compromising quality,” said Nakamura.

He emphasized the importance of customizing medical treatment for each individual patient as well as improving health care to better prevent patients from becoming bedridden and developing dementia or cancer.

More accurately gauging the effects of drugs so as to avoid excessive dosages and side effects also “could be a decisive factor for the effective use of medical expenses,” Nakamura added.