Health costs in Japan are hugely expensive and the Japanese government is increasingly hard pressed to come up with sensible reforms to streamline the national health care system to reduce increasing costs. A major cost for the Japanese health care system are medications. Japanese “experts” are brought in all the time to possibly offer solutions to this pressing social issue of health care costs. Sure, Japan’s healthcare system is rated as one of the best in the world but at what cost and can it be sustained? Wouldn’t it perhaps be far better to begin aggressive campaigns to promote more responsibility on the part of individual Japanese to take care of themselves with prevention? When dentists in Japan offer preventative dental care they are given a financial incentive. So why not in health? The current circumstances of Japan’s high-cost medical treatment can no longer be sustained and this is made worse by expensive medications.
The anti-cancer drug Glivec was approved by Japan’s health ministry way back in 2001. Novel Novartis’ leukemia drug, Glivec®, received approval by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) and is a very expensive drug. The pharmaceutical giant Novartis is located in Basel, Switzerland. Glivec works by “attacking cancerous cells without destroying healthy cells”. It is not a cure, but rather a treatment that prevents the leukemia from worsening. Glivec is expensive. One pill currently costs ¥3,128, and a patient needs to take four a day. That adds up to over ¥4.5 million a year. Since Glivec is covered by Japan’s national health insurance, the patient would pay 30 percent, or around ¥1.35 million a year, but the Japanese government also subsidizes approved treatment that is deemed too expensive for some people. Under this kogaku iryo seido (high-cost medical system), out-of-pocket payments by patients with leukemia for Glivec could be reduced to ¥500,000 a year.
There is an alternative and that would be selenium. Selenium comes from metal ores but this is not the recommended source to take as a nutritional preventative against cancer. The best source for selenium comes from plants that first absorb the selenium which then makes it highly absorbed in the body for its efficient use. The problem is the pharmaceutical cartels will never allow selenium to become well known within the general population. Selenium is a powerful anti-cancer nutrient provided it is absorbed properly by the body. Readers are encouraged to source out relevant research on the efficacy of selenium to prevent cancer.
Now, if the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) are concerned about the increasing costs of healthcare in Japan, wouldn’t they find ways to reduce costs by looking at alternative treatments like with selenium? Fact is they won’t; because this would jeopardize profits for the big drug cartels. The anti-aging industry is expected to grow to over US$1 trillion in the coming years and I am certain the plant-derived trace mineral selenium will be a big component of any coming anti-aging products. But the only way for the Japanese to appreciate this nutrient is if they become more responsible about their own health rather than leaving it up to the healthcare industry in Japan. Rates of cancer in Japan used to be lower than in other countries but all indications are cancer is increasing within the Japanese population. Shiitake mushrooms are the second best known source of plant-derived selenium. So what’s it going to be Japan, return to traditional healthy diets or continue to bankrupt your nation do in part to increasing healthcare costs?