Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) chairman James Mazzo, president of Abbott Medical Optics, and AdvaMed president and CEO Stephen Ubl, have urged the Japanese government to adopt policies to improve patient access to medical devices and diagnostics.

The meetings focused on ways Japan could improve its regulatory and reimbursement systems, which delay by several years Japanese patient access to medical technology available in the EU and US.

Mazzo and Ubl highlighted that Japan’s policies are inconsistent with the government’s ‘New Vision for the Medical Device and Medical Technology Industry’ of encouraging a vibrant domestic medical technology industry.

Ubl said that despite some recent improvements, Japan’s medical device approval process is still considered the most burdensome in the world.

“When you combine a difficult regulatory system with uncertain reimbursement rules – that are based not on the high costs of doing business in Japan but on comparisons with prices in completely unrelated foreign markets it is easy to see why our members are increasingly passing Japan by,” Ubl said.

Mazzo said that their meetings this week were very productive and look forward to working with officials in Japan to ensure that regulatory and reimbursement policies are in place that facilitate Japanese patient access to the most safe and effective medical devices and diagnostics available.