Dr. Yasuhiro Suzuki, Chief Medical Officer at the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) has commented on the need to ensure pricing and reimbursement encourages the development of innovative new medicines for rare diseases.
Speaking in a personal capacity, Dr Suzuki argued that more investment should be allocated to develop treatments for rare diseases with high unmet need, rather than marginally better drugs for less serious conditions which already have alternative treatments. Treatments for rare diseases tend to be proportionately more expensive to develop than medicines for more common conditions, and so have traditionally attracted less investment as a result.
Dr Suzuki’s comments have been made in the context of a global shift in policy in regard to orphan medicines, with policy makers recognising the need to develop better methods of encouraging investment for diseases which in aggregate affect a large proportion of patient populations.
Dr Suzuki has significant experience in the area, from his background as a physician, and having lead the R&D division of the MHLW’s Health Policy Bureau.