The healthcare system is one facet of the social infrastructure that brings stability to people’s lives. Since Japan established a universal health insurance system and achieved universal health coverage in 1961, the Japanese healthcare system has supported a world-class society known for its health and longevity. However, the sustainability of the current healthcare system is threatened by various issues, such as an increase in the elderly population, which consumes relatively large amounts of the healthcare budget, a decrease in the working-age population due to a declining birthrate, and a burden on the healthcare system caused by emergencies.
The challenge of promoting innovation, ensuring equitable access, and providing quality healthcare while keeping costs low is common throughout the world.
Three ways to solve the challenge of balancing the promotion of innovation with equitable access are (1) value-based pricing, (2) utilization of big data, and (3) introducing cutting-edge technology.
In properly assessing the value of innovative medical technology, devices, and drugs, it is important to balance both cost and public health value.
In addition to drug evaluation, standardization of the quality of medical care is also important under a system such as Japan’s that focuses on equitable access.
Finally, since the development of a sustainable healthcare system involves a financial burden, it is necessary to build consensus through public participation in the decision-making process.